Manchester United v Liverpool - Five key battles

Old Trafford 3

Jones v Suarez, Rooney v Agger, Carrick v Gerrard and more.

Manchester United against Liverpool is one of the biggest derby games in world football and the clash at Old Trafford this Sunday could be telling for both sides.

If Liverpool win, they will send out a big statement to their rivals in the Premier League title race but if Manchester United win, they will be able to close the gap on fourth place as they hunt for Champions League football.

There are going to be some key individual battles breaking out during the game and we’ve taken a look at five potential match ups.

Phil Jones v Luis Suarez

Suarez isn’t a popular person with United supporters and the hostile reception he’s likely to get will fire him up and inspire him to get on the score sheet.

Jones is arguably the best equipped United defensive player to deal with Suarez’ threat because he’s so versatile. He needs to read the game effectively, drop off well and switch positions to keep an eye on the Uruguayan.

Patrice Evra v Raheem Sterling

Brendan Rodgers could start with Sterling if one his main tactics for the game is to counter attack and exploit a lack of pace in the United back four.

Evra has experience and it wouldn’t be the first time he’s played against a winger quicker than he is over on his side of the pitch. If Evra can take Sterling out of the game, he could eradicate one of Liverpool’s main attacking weapons.

Michael Carrick v Steven Gerrard

Carrick is one of the best around when it comes to cutting off the angles and making it difficult for the opposition to move the ball around.

Gerrard will nudge forward at times during the game as he has done throughout his entire Liverpool career. The job for Carrick is to be right in his face, protecting the back four whenever Gerrard gets on the ball.

Juan Mata v Jordan Henderson

Mata may be named over on the right to start with but recent performances have shown he won’t always stay there.

Expect to see him drifting all over the pitch and the man tasked with keeping an eye on him could be Jordan Henderson. Henderson’s fitness is as good as anyone else’s in Liverpool’s team and Mata will not stop moving throughout the game.

Wayne Rooney v Daniel Agger

Rooney could try and exploit Daniel Agger who hasn’t had a lot of football over the last few weeks.

Rooney will play on Agger’s shoulder and he’ll also get on the ball in front of the Dane. The trick for Agger is showing the discipline needed in terms of backing off and knowing when to step in.

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