The fiercest Premier League rivalry returns when Manchester United head over to Anfield to face Liverpool.
This is a fixture everyone talks about since both are known world wide and the fans get involved across all mediums. Even though Liverpool have not won the league, United have been the dominant force during the Premier League era which shows how much has changed in English football. Now, both teams are in transition with the affect being more on Man United since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and are struggling to find their feet again. At Liverpool, you see Jurgen Klopp who replaced Rodgers and this brings excitement to the league which United fans are afraid of what he can achieve.
For Van Gaal, he faces a usual face in the dugout as he has come against the Klopp in the German league. Van Gaal knows how important this game is to the fans and he will be satisfied with the three previous meetings as he has won all three. After dropping two points against Newcastle, United are sixth and ahead by three points from Liverpool. From the league leaders Arsenal, United are nine points behind and dropping further points will hinder their chances for the title.
Klopp would be proud of his side who managed to earn a late draw against Arsenal and he will be looking to taste his first derby against Man United as he has said it is “the salt in the soup”. He will certainly get a flavour of what the English game is proud of. He likes to play aggressive football and that is something United need to adopt and by the sounds of it, Van Gaal is envious of Klopp’s style of play.
United will be without Schweinsteiger with a knee problem and Carrick is injured. Phil Jones is expected to return soon. Januzaj is expected to be involved. Liverpool will be without Coutinho, Sturridge, Origi, Lovren, Skrtel, and Gomez are out injured. However, they could hand Caulker a debut from his loan move from QPR.
Last time these two faced each other at Anfield, it took a brace from Juan Mata to clinch all three points for Van Gaal. It was a game where Steven Gerrard got sent off within a minute. Since then, United have faced criticism of the possession style of football where it has not been entertaining. The fans are looking for goals to cheer for and the players were geared up against Newcastle. Now that Januzaj is back at the club, there can be width provided by him and Memphis. It was great to see Rooney get two goals and an assist, he seemed like he was enjoying himself and that is the role he needs to have in the team.
Form goes out the window when it comes to this derby. There is so much emotion into this game and only what happens in the 90 minutes matters. So both teams needing a win for their own reasons, anything can happen in this fixture.
Possible starting XI:
Liverpool; Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Caulker, Moreno, Can, Allen, Milner, Lallana, Benteke, Firmino.
Man Utd; De Gea, Young, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Fellaini, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Rooney, Mata, Martial.