Football

Rafael: I hope I can score against Liverpool again

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Rafael is hoping to help Manchester United enjoy a strong finish to the Premier League campaign after making his long-awaited return from injury during last weekend's 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The Red Devils right-back featured as a late substitute at Old Trafford after replacing goalscorer Michael Carrick in the 87th minute, and is hoping to break back into Louis van Gaal's starting line-up, hopefully in time for the forthcoming clash against Liverpool at Anfield this Sunday.

"It was very good for me and it was also very important for me, to come into the game and play for the first-team again," he explained in an interview with ManUtd.com. "I just want to be involved now.

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"Of course, it was good to play. Training has been fantastic as well. Now I just want to be involved with the team and if I get a chance, then I want to play well."

After suffering a fractured cheekbone in the FA Cup third round win over Yeovil Town at Huish Park on January 4, Rafael has endured a frustrating spell on the sidelines and been forced to wait patiently for a first-team chance with Antonio Valencia currently the preferred option on the right side of defence.

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He stepped up his recovery by playing some minutes for the Manchester United development squad, and actually scored an impressive left-footed strike against Tottenham U21s at the Theatre of Dreams last week.

"It was very good to score that goal," added the Brazilian. "When you score a goal – no matter how good it is – it is always fantastic.

"I always seem to score with my left foot and they are always good goals. Apart from the goal at QPR, they have all been with my left foot!"

Rafael also netted a screamer against Liverpool at Anfield back in 2012, and the marauding full-back says he'd love to repeat that feat if selected in the starting XI on Merseyside this weekend.

"I hope I can do it again… maybe with my left foot again!" - Rafael

Manchester United currently occupy fourth place in the table and are two points ahead of Liverpool in fifth spot. Victory this weekend will put further daylight between themselves and Brendan Rodgers's side in the race for Champions League qualification next term.

And, in the aftermath of that emphatic win against Spurs, Rafael says that confidence in the Red Devils camp is extremely high, and that the players are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.

"Of course this result is very good for our confidence ahead of the Liverpool game. It is very good to win a game against a team like Tottenham, playing some fantastic football with a high tempo and lots of energy.

"It has boosted our confidence. It is always tough to play there at Anfield, but I think it is very good to get this result before that game."

De Gea - Bale swap deal

Manchester United will allow David de Gea to leave Old Trafford this summer but only if Real Madrid agree to swap the goalkeeper with Gareth Bale.

Louis van Gaal has reportedly elevated the Welsh winger to the top of his transfer wish-list this summer, and is ready to use the Spanish stopper as bait to make the deal happen.

Mata back to his old club?

Juan Mata is being linked with a surprise return to former club Valencia this summer, as the Spanish giants prepare to make a £20 million bid for the playmaker's signature.

Los Che owner Peter Lim is eager to negotiate a deal for the 26-year-old midfielder, and hopes to have him back at the Mestalla in time for the start of next season.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Liverpool
Rafael Da Silva

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