Liverpool v Manchester United: Five key battles

David Moyes is about to understand just why sir Alex Ferguson described the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United as the biggest in world football.

Things don’t get any easier for the Manchester United boss and following a hard earned point against Chelsea, he is thrust into the cauldron of having to take his side to Anfield and as a former Everton boss to boot.

United will be looking for an instant response to dropping points against Chelsea but Liverpool have had a very successful start to the season which currently sees them two points ahead of United on the Premier League table.

The crowd will be right up for this match with plenty of noise likely from both sets of supporters and there will be plenty of key battles happening all over the pitch.

Daniel Agger v Robin van Persie

With Kolo Toure unlikely to play through injury, Daniel Agger finds himself as the primary centre back in the side for this match.

Van Persie has carried on where he left off last season with goals against Swansea City and plenty of movement in that match against Chelsea. Agger will have to be at the very top of his game to keep the Dutchman quiet.

Lucas v Wayne Rooney

If Rooney starts this match then he’ll likely play a similar role to the one he produced against Chelsea.

That means that holding player Lucas will be tasked with keeping an eye on him, possibly being ordered to man mark Rooney to stop him from having any influence over the game.

If Lucas doesn’t manage to keep Rooney quiet then he will hurt Liverpool in more ways than one, as he’s just as likely to create a goal as he is to score one.

Steven Gerrard v Michael Carrick

This is a battle between Liverpool’s main driving midfield force and one of the best players in Europe when it comes to reading the game, occupying space and making interceptions.

Carrick is not a straight up defensive midfield player so Gerrard is going to get spells of time on the ball, with the job for Carrick being to cut off his angles, press and generally make it difficult for Gerrard to feed the attack and create chances.

Philippe Coutinho v Rio Ferdinand

Philippe Coutinho has a tendency to stick to the slight left of Liverpool’s midfield although he’s dangerous as a playmaker all over the pitch.

That’s bad news for Rio Ferdinand as he plays on the left side of Manchester United’s defence.

One of the reasons the Ferdinand and Vidic partnership is so successful for United is because of the discipline they guarantee. The job for Coutinho will be to try and draw Ferdinand out of the back four which will create huge areas of space.

Daniel Sturridge v Nemanja Vidic

Sturridge looks like one of the most dangerous forwards in the Premier League at the moment, scoring goals freely and genuinely enjoying himself.

Nemanja Vidic has the task of keeping him quite although he will switch between centre backs. Vidic has the ability to affect Sturridge mentally because he’s a strong and aggressive defender but Sturridge has greater pace and good skill which he can use to expose the Serbian.

What are your key battles for the match?

image: © jbj

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