Manchester United v Liverpool - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

Old Trafford 2

To be played on Sunday 16th March 2014 at 13:30. Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.

Odds: Manchester United 6/4, Draw 5/2, Liverpool 19/10

Last season: 2-1

Preview & injury news

This must be a rather unfamiliar position for both sides of late as at the start of the season there won't have been many supporters from either side saying that Liverpool would have an 11 point lead over Manchester United with 10 games remaining - but that's the way it is.

It's the start of a big set of fixtures for David Moyes. Not only do they have Liverpool this weekend at Old Trafford but they have the second leg of their Champions League tie against Olympiakos and a Premier League clash with Manchester City fast approaching as well as a difficult trip to West Ham United amongst all that. United go into this game having won their last two Premier League matches, both of them away from home against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion. Their realistic aim in the Premier League is probably for a Europa League place, unless they go on a run this month, but even with a good run of form - a top four place is looking unlikely.

For Liverpool, they're talked as potential title candidates - though they could be third by the time kick-off comes around on Sunday lunchtime and ten points behind Chelsea - having played two games less than Jose Mourinho's men. Still, they're league form is very good having not lost since the turn of the year, they're unbeaten in their last nine league games, winning seven of them. As they are currently the highest scores in the division it could be a difficult afternoon for the Manchester United defence.

On the injury front there are murmurs that Rafael Da Silva could be struggling with an ankle problem ahead of Sunday as he was substituted late on in the 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion last weekend. There are still question marks over the fitness of Javier Hernandez who picked up a knee injury on international duty. Jonny Evans is struggling with a calf problem whilst there is still no word on the return of Nani who has a hamstring injury.

The visitors have received an injury boost ahead of this weekend's game with both Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho coming through an under-21 Premier League match against West Ham United last week unscathed. Sakho played 70 minutes after recovering from a hamstring problem, whilst Lucas played the entire game on his comeback from a knee injury. Liverpool are still without Jose Enrique who is continuing his recovery from a long term knee problem. 

Key stats

Here are the two teams top scorers in the Premier League this season:

Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 24 23 2,064
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FW 18 20 1,581
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 11 23 1,936
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 11 17 1,376
Danny Welbeck Man Utd FW 9 18 1,168
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 8 24 2,023

Their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Manchester United 55.18 28
Liverpool 53.46 28

And the amount of clean sheets they've managed to keep:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Manchester United 10 28
Liverpool 8 28

5 players to watch

Wayne Rooney - Rooney has said that seeing Liverpool in the title race this season has been painful, but this weekend provides an opportunity for him to spoil any chances or hopes the visitors may have of ending their 24 year wait for a league title. Will he be the man to come up with the crucial moment to swing the match the home side's way?

Daniel Sturridge - Former Manchester City man, currently playing for Liverpool - he's not exactly going to be liked by the Old Trafford crowd. It is very rare that Sturridge goes two games without scoring for the Reds, so the home side could have their work cut out preventing the Liverpool hitman from adding to his 18 league goals this season.

Marouane Fellaini - Fellaini has put in a couple of solid midfield performances in United's wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion - so will Moyes persist with the Belgian in the middle of the park this weekend in the hope of making it three wins on the bounce?

Steven Gerrard - Gerrard has been playing the deeper, more defensive midfield role since the turn of the year - and with Lucas Leiva returning from injury it will be interesting to see whether Gerrard continues in that role, or if Brendan Rodgers will change things for the trip to Old Trafford - meaning the Liverpool skipper could push further forward.

Phil Jones - Whether it's at the heart of defence or in the middle of the park, Jones does give Manchester United a degree of presence. He is going to have his hands full if he plays in either position, by either dealing with Liverpool's strike duo or with the craft Liverpool possess in the middle of the park. It is more likely he will start at the heart of the defence.

Earlier on in the season

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United, September 2013

It was David Moyes's first competitive defeat as Manchester United manager and the solitary goal from Daniel Sturridge sent Liverpool top of the Premier League in the early stages of the season, giving them their best start to a season in 19 years. The goal came in the fourth minute as a Steven Gerrard corner was flicked on before Sturridge headed in from close range. Liverpool had a lot of the play in the first half and were good value for their lead, and even though United had much of the play in the second half, barring the miss from Robin Van Persie late on they never really looked like threatening the home side's lead. 

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