This Sunday’s North-West derby between Manchester United and Liverpool has all the hallmarks of a classic.
The Red Devils find themselves struggling in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of fourth place Manchester City. Liverpool on the other hand are flying, and with just seven points separating them and league leaders Chelsea, the Reds are certainly still within a shot of landing the title.
With 10 Premier League fixtures remaining, the two sides’ Premier League objectives are simple. For Liverpool, it’s a title push, and for Manchester United, it’s securing an unlikely top four spot.
Both teams will fancy their chances of winning the game, yet for the first time in years, perhaps Brendan Rodgers’ side are favourites going into the match.
Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney versus Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez… It’s an exciting prospect. However, Liverpool legend John Aldridge has pinpointed the midfield area as the key battle and believes the away side can emerge victorious if they can dominate the middle of the park.
By doing so, Aldridge explained in the Liverpool Echo that hard work, graft and determination are the key attributes needed and excluded Brazilian midfielder Coutinho from his selection – suggesting that the 21-year-old despite his phenomenal passing range doesn’t require those key abilities for such an occasion:
“You need grafters when you go to places like Old Trafford, and a midfield of Allen, Jordan Henderson and Steve Gerrard is full of graft.
“United struggle in central midfield, it is well documented, so I would make that part of the field as strong as possible.
“If that means leaving Philippe Coutinho on the bench, then so be it.
“Coutinho has looked a little jaded in the last couple of games. Mind you, it’s not a bad option to have to bring off the bench.”