Football

Manchester United v Liverpool: Predicted line-ups

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Manchester United will aim to heap further misery on Liverpool this Sunday, five days after Brendan Rodgers’ side were eliminated from the Champions League.

The Merseyside outfit huffed and puffed but, despite Steven Gerrard’s wonderful equaliser, couldn’t find the winning goal that would have sent them through to the knockout stages at the expense of their opponents Basel.

It was the latest blow in what is proving to be an immensely frustrating and disappointing campaign for the Reds, who head into this weekend’s match at Old Trafford as the underdogs.

Roles reversed

It was a different story last season. Liverpool, inspired by the world-class Luis Suarez, were riding the crest of the wave for most of the campaign and deservedly beat their fierce rivals both home and away.

The Reds didn’t waste their opportunity to pile the misery on the hapless David Moyes and Manchester United - but the Red Devils are now a much more formidable package under Louis van Gaal.

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For the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson was at the club, Manchester United have won five matches in a row. They are firm favourites to make it six wins from six on Sunday afternoon - but how will the two sides line up?

Manchester United team news

Despite reports that Angel di Maria and Phil Jones could be fit to face Liverpool, it seems very unlikely that either player will start the bench, although a place on the subs’ bench is a possibility.

Chris Smalling is definitely out after suffering a muscle injury against Southampton, and will be replaced by Jonny Evans, who will play alongside Marcos Rojo at the heart of United’s defence.

Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia will operate as full-backs, while Van Gaal should deploy a midfield trio featuring Michael Carrick - who will double up as a third centre-back when required - Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

Juan Mata should start in the No. 10 position, just behind Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who netted both goals against Southampton earlier this week. Radamel Falcao, meanwhile, will continue on the bench.

Liverpool team news

As for Liverpool, Rodgers is expected to make several changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Basel on Tuesday night, including reintroducing Mario Balotelli into the fold at the expense of Rickie Lambert.

Balotelli’s fitness will be assessed prior to Sunday’s match, but the out-of-form Italian is likely to start at the ground where he enjoyed success with Manchester City.

Kolo Toure has recovered from a groin strain and should partner Martin Skrtel in defence, with Adam Lallana also in contention to start after making a swift recovery from a rib injury.

Meanwhile, Alberto Moreno could come in for Jose Enrique; Steven Gerrard could drop into central midfield alongside Lucas Leiva, with Philippe Coutinho playing as the team’s advanced playmaker.

Manchester United: Predicted line-up

De Gea; Valencia, Evans, Rojo, Young; Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera; Mata; Rooney, Van Persie

Liverpool: Predicted line-up

Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Toure, Moreno; Lucas, Gerrard; Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling; Balotelli

Score prediction

Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

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Topics:
Robin Van Persie
Liverpool
Wayne Rooney
Mario Balotelli
Manchester United
Premier League
Football
Steven Gerrard

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