Manchester United vs Liverpool: Three Key Battles

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Manchester United take on Liverpool this Sunday with key battles set to determine the outcome

After a disappointing but an entertaining 3-3 draw against Newcastle United on Tuesday, Manchester United travel to Merseyside to face their bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

The Red Devils are on a poor run of results as they have won only one Premier League Game in their last five and manager Louis Van Gaal would surely be looking for an important moral boosting win over Liverpool.

Liverpool on the other hand have been very inconsistent and have also appointed a new manager in Jurgen Klopp after sacking Brendan Rodgers in October. The Merseyside outfit also endured a thrilling 3-3 draw against the table toppers Arsenal this week which means both sides comes into the game with questions to answer.

The two teams might be struggling in the Premier league as United are sixth while Liverpool are in eighth position – however the fixture still holds equal intensity and rivalry. And there may be several individual battles on the pitch on Sunday and the following three will be vital in determining the games outcome.

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Anthony Martial vs Alberto Moreno

The French forward has a very good memory from the last fixture in September when he made his debut for Manchester United against Liverpool and scored a brilliant solo goal. The former Monaco forward has been the bright spark for Manchester United in their dull attack. Van Gaal has been using him on the left flank and the 20 year-old has been impressive as he has been collecting goals and assists from that position.Martial was switched on right wing against Newcastle as Van Gaal went for pace on both flanks and it is likely that Martial is will continue on the right side of the front four.

Alberto Moreno has nailed the left-back position under Klopp after a season ending injury to Joe Gomez. And the Spaniard has been one of the better and consistent performers for Liverpool. He has been a threat while going forward and has been decent while defending. He will surely have a big task of handling Martial as the Frenchman is the focal point of the Reds attack.

Wayne Rooney vs Mamadou Sakho

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has endured a dry spell at Anfield as he scored against the arch rivals away from home back in 2005. Rooney also had his penalty saved last time at Anfield when United beat Liverpool 2-1 courtesy of two fantastic goals from Juan Mata. Rooney is currently having an underwhelming season this term but the England international has struck some much needed form in the last three games in all competitions, scoring four goals and adding assists.

Liverpool have been facing an injury crisis especially in defence with the likes of Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel ruled out. And this has forced Klopp to sign Steven Caulker on a loan deal to provide cover alongside Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho. Sakho has been given more game-time under Klopp and the Frenchman is still a vulnerable link in centre defence which Rooney will look to expose with his clever runs.

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Daley Blind vs Roberto Firmino

Klopp has an excellent record for Liverpool in big games. The German also grabbed a point against table toppers Arsenal on Wednesday. Klopp has gone for a false nine in big games with Roberto Firmino as the striker and the Brazilian has not disappointed. The Brazilian has scored three goals and one assist in games against Manchester City,Chelsea and Arsenal. Firmino has pace and trickery in his armory that helps in stretching the opponents defence, something he will do again on Sunday.

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However, United have one of the best defences in Premier League as Chris Smalling is enjoying his best season for the Old Trafford side. Dutchman Daley Blind has also done a good job but his lack of pace will encourage Firmino. The Dutch international will have to be clever with his positioning to tackle Firmino and keep him quiet which will help in keeping the Liverpool attack at bay.