Manchester United vs Liverpool – Preview


You have spanking clashes. You have cutthroat clashes. And then you have Manchester United vs Liverpool. The traditional rivals will square off in an absorbing encounter on Super Sunday at Old Trafford, with Manchester United coming into the encounter on a more convincing run of form than their most hated rivals.

Five wins on the trot since their narrow defeat to crosstown rivals Manchester City has signalled the true start of the Louis Van Gaal era. However, for Liverpool, it’s gone all downhill since that stellar season they enjoyed while Luis Suarez was at the club. The Anfield side have won just five of their last 20 matches in all competitions, during which time they have slipped down into both mid-table and the Europa League.

Louis Van Gaal’s men have been on an imperial run of results, disposing  of Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Hull City, Stoke City and Southampton successfully to get their title campaign up and running, finally. As for Liverpool, the situation couldn’t have been more contrasting.

Brendan Rodgers’ men have won a meager five of their last twenty meetings in all competitions and have been unable to stack up a good run of form. Liverpool have slipped from the standards they set last season so emphatically and for all the noise they made about finally being considered as genuine title contenders, they’ll term this season as a success if they qualify for the Champions League.

United on their part haven’t been all that dominant but have at least managed to rack up a decent set of results which will be instrumental in instilling confidence in their minds. As for the Merseysider’s, a stuttering front line, a fragile defense, and a manager who has been making controversial decisions has been enough to derail their title quest. However, a win for them could transform their season, whereas a victory for Manchester United could prove that their prodigious run of form is not temporary.

Venue and Match officials: 

Martin Atkinson will take charge of the fixture, while Mike Mullarkey and Stephen Child will assist. Jonathan Moss has been appointed as the fourth official.

Team News:

Another week, and another casualty for Manchester United. Chris Smalling is all set to miss the huge clash after suffering a groin injury in his side’s 1-2 victory against Southampton on Monday, and will be out for at least two weeks.

However, not everything is bad for Louis Van Gaal on the defensive front. Rafael and Phil Jones are all set for a comeback after successfully recovering from their long-term groin and shin injuries respectively. As far as the attacking department is concerned, United will miss the services of club record signing Angel Di Maria who will be out with a hamstring injury. Luke Shaw and Daley Blind will be the other absentees for the host’s.

Predicted line-ups for Sunday’s crunch tie [credit:]

Daniel Sturridge continues to be unavailable for the opposition, but Mario Balotelli has returned to training from a hamstring issue. Mamadou Sakho made Liverpool’s bench for their European clash with Basel after a thigh injury, and he should be rejoined in the squad by fellow centre-back Kolo Toure.

Key Facts and Stats:

Only Everton v Liverpool (20) has seen more red cards than Liverpool v Manchester United of all fixtures in Premier League history (15).
Steven Gerrard has scored more goals as an away player at Old Trafford than any other player in Premier League history (5).

Mario Balotelli’s only previous appearance in the league at Old Trafford saw him score twice in Man City’s 6-1 demolition of the Red Devils in October 2011.

Liverpool’s haul of 21 points is their fourth lowest in Premier League history at this stage of the season. They had 19 points in 1992-93, 2010-11 and 2012-13.


Manchester United have been in sublime touch of late and it looks like the players are finally buying into Louis Van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’. A healthy dressing room atmosphere and great backing financially has ensured a happy atmosphere at Old Trafford and United will be in the mood to inflict more sorrow on a struggling Liverpool side.

Honestly speaking, I can’t see Liverpool scoring in this match. Even though United’s defense is leaky, Liverpool’s attacking impotency has reached insurmountable heights this season. I’ll go for a breezy 3-0 victory for United.

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