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Liverpool predicted line-up vs Manchester United

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After crashing out of the Champions League earlier this week, Liverpool look to put their upsets behind them when they travel to Manchester United on Sunday.

The history between the two bitter rivals is known across world football and are the most successful club's in England with a combined 38 league titles, 18 FA Cups and eight European Cups and that success has made them the two most supported English club's across the globe.

Struggling for form

The Reds have been struggling for form recently, sitting just ninth in the Premier League on 21 points and look a shadow of the team they were last season.

United, in contrast, are rooted to third in the table after a shaky start, however, Louis Van Gaal's men have began to gel together and have won their last five league games on the bounce.

In this fixture last season, Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 victory thanks to two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez strike, but, Brendan Rodgers' men are now without last season's top scorer after he departed for Barcelona this summer.

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With matches coming thick and fast over the festive period, we're likely to see the Liverpool boss switch around his team fairly often.

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

The Belgian may have just over two weeks to save his Anfield career. He's been far from his best this season and Tuesday's game against Basel highlighted this.

Mignolet looked uncomfortable in the ball from the word go, always looking to get rid as soon as possible and rarely left his line to collect crosses.

However, Rodgers has been faithful with the former Sunderland man despite his vulnerabilities and will have to be at his best if the Reds are to get a result.

The 26-year-old is, however, an excellent shot-stopper and could have a busy afternoon at Old Trafford.

Right-back - Glen Johnson

Glen Johnson has been favoured at right-back of late, however, he wasn't great against the Swiss champions and gave away the ball too easily that lead to Marco Streller's goal.

Liverpool need to be defensively strong against an in-form United attack and Manquillo seems the better option.

The Spaniard is defensively better than Johnson and it's important the Merseyside club do not taste another defeat. Manquillo likes to attack, but does not get drawn too far up the pitch which brings a balance needed on Sunday.

Centre-back - Kolo Toure

The Ivorian missed Tuesday's game through injury, however, it's more than likely he'll replace Dejan Lovren in the centre-of-defence.

Toure has came into the Liverpool back-four and brought composure and leadership to the side. He was voted the club's player of the month for November, and rightly so.

His experience is much needed and you could see how badly the Reds' missed him against Basel midweek - he will come back for the trip against the Red Devils and bring solidarity to the defence.

Centre-back - Martin Skrtel

Skrtel hasn't had a highlight season so far, but, seems to gel better with Toure and will appreciate being partnered once again with him.

In the European Cup tie on Tuesday, he once again struggled to perform alongside Dejan Lovren, with the pair not communicating which resulted in the away side taking the lead.

It's apparent that the Slovakian needs a leader beside him that will keep himself focused all of the time.

Skrtel relishes battles with strikers and we saw that when he was marking Diego Costa earlier this season. It seems to bring him to another level, really putting everything into the game and he could have the same circumstances with Robin van Persie.

Left-back - Alberto Moreno

The £12 million summer signing has been left out of Brendan Rodgers starting line-up of late, however, he should be back in the side against United.

Moreno came on as a substitute against Basel and didn't have a bad game. He was defensively sound and committed himself to attacks when he could, sending several dangerous crosses into the box.

The Spaniard has admitted he must halt himself and consider that his main principle is keeping the ball out of his net. 

After two defensive mistakes against Manchester City and Newcastle United, the former Sevilla man will have learned to not mess around with the ball in dangerous areas and will be in ready form to improve at the back.

Defensive-midfield - Lucas

The Brazilian has been solid protecting the defence in Liverpool's last few games and will have his hands full once again.

Lucas clearly struggled playing with Joe Allen on Tuesday, with the two playing a similar role and always going for the same ball.

It was, however, the ex-Gremio man who stood out making several key interceptions and tackles and rarely made a poor pass.

True, he's unlikely to make things happen going forward, yet, that his not his job and instead he offers as a shield for the back-four.

United have some superb attacking players in van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Jaun Mata and Lucas will have to be up to his best to deny them.

Centre-midfield - Emre Can

It's surprising that Can has been kept in the dark since Liverpool's 2-1 loss to Chelsea over a month ago.

He was the Reds' best player against the league-leaders, posing a threat going forward and grabbed himself a goal and gave plenty of aid at the back.

The German has been one of few summer signings who looks good and with Jordan Henderson struggling for form, Can will be ready to step into the team.

Liverpool need a strong player in the centre-of-midfield at Old Trafford who can boss the game and the 20-year-old can do just the trick. He's blessed with a massive stature as well as power, pace and an eye for goal.

Centre-midfield - Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool captain desperately tried to inspire his team to victory on Tuesday, but could not prevail.

His free-kick in the closing stages of the game did attempt to do so, when perfectly bending his effort into the top right-hand corner.

The 34-year-old may not have the legs he once had, but showed he still is a set-piece specialist and has plenty of ability when striking a dead-ball.

Gerrard, too, has ability when the ball is at his feet and now playing a further role forward, it allows his passing to make much more of an impact.

Left-wing - Raheem Sterling

The youngster has been one of the first players on Rodgers' team-sheet this season and rightly so.

Against Basel, he looked one of only a few people who looked to be threatening and made several runs that tested the Swiss sides' defence.

There may be rumours that Sterling has not signed a new contract, but, that's unlikely to not see him put another solid shift in.

He had a good game in this fixture last year and should be a menace against an inexperienced United defence. 

Right-wing - Adam Lallana

Lallana missed Tuesday's game with cracked ribs, however, will take painkillers to be available for the game.

It shows the commitment from the England international and how badly he wants to play.

Since his £25 million summer move from Southampton, the 26-year-old has not played as much as he would have liked and spent half of the time sitting on the bench.

However, he's been impressive when he has been given a call-up and he will get better given a string of starts in the side. 

He showed last year that he has the ability to unlock defences with his quick feet and superb vision and can be the provider to his side.

Striker - Rickie Lambert

With Mario Balotelli still not fully fit, Lambert will once again lead Liverpool's front-line.

He struggled in the Champions League game midweek, but, this task should suit more.

The 32-year-old works his socks off for his side and his effort is faultless.

Lambert too has a very good touch and sets up plenty of good attacks for his side when the ball comes to him.

He too has an excellent relationship with Lallana, having been team-mates at Southampton, and linked well when Lambert netted his first goal for the club against Crystal Palace.

The Kirkby-native is an experienced forward and will likely cause problems for a struggling United back-four.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Manchester United
Premier League
Football

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