Manchester United v Liverpool: The Key Battles

Five key battles for the mega Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Here's where the big game will be won and lost...

Nemanja Vidic v Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is still the main threat in the Liverpool attack despite the solid start to Liverpool life made by Daniel Sturridge. Suarez will be at his slippery and slimy best and United captain Nemanja Vidic will have to be at the top of his game to spot every forward and attacking run Suarez makes, trying to step out and cut off the supply as well as dropping deep to make sure he isn’t out sprinted.

Patrice Evra v Raheem Sterling

These two players could have been team mates had Raheem Sterling chosen not to sign a new contract with Liverpool. Sterling can play down either wing but he is expected to start on the right considering the success he had against Evra in the match at Anfield earlier in the season. Evra needs to give himself the time and the space to cope with Sterling’s extra pace.

Tom Cleverley v Steven Gerrard

The creative and driving forces in each of the sides. Cleverley has less experience than Gerrard but he has been effective in recent games and bagged a goal in the FA Cup tie at West Ham which should guarantee him a start. Gerrard always raises his game against United so the home midfield needs to make sure he doesn’t get any time on the ball. Whoever, has more time in possession should be on the winning side.

Javier Hernandez v Daniel Agger

Although Hernandez was disappointing against West Ham, he should just get the nod to start alongside Robin Van Persie in the United attack. Agger is one of the only Liverpool players sharp enough to cope with Hernandez’s movement, but he must make sure the Liverpool defence does not drop too deep because this is where Hernandez exploits small weaknesses in the opposition.

Robin Van Persie v Martin Skrtel

Give Van Persie a chance and he will score, it’s as simple as that. Martin Skrtel matches up well against him physically so he has to be on the face of the Dutch striker throughout the game. If Van Persie is allowed to do whatever he likes in his attacking role for United then he could easily bag more than one goal so Skrtel has to be all over him like a rash.

image: © Paolo Camera

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