Denting Liverpool’s title charge is not Manchester United’s main motivation, insists Juan Mata

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Juan Mata insists derailing Liverpool’s title tilt is not Manchester United’s main motivation as they look to seal a “very special” win this weekend.

Hours before the Carabao Cup final takes place in the capital, Old Trafford arguably plays host to an even more hotly-anticipated clash on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool won 3-1 in December’s meeting between these old foes – a result that brought an end to Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous reign and set United on course for an exciting new chapter.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s in-form side have risen up to fourth in the table and Mata says the focus is on strengthening that position rather than looking to throw Jurgen Klopp’s title-challenging Reds off kilter at this crucial stage of the season.

“We see it in a different way, which is we’re trying to stay in these top four positions,” the Spaniard said.

“We got there after a very good run in the last months. Honestly it felt quite difficult to do it, if you asked me two months ago.

“But we are there now, and we want to keep that position by winning, and obviously we’ll have to play against Liverpool and Manchester City, and both are fighting for the title with Tottenham, so let’s see what happens.

“But obviously what we want is to win every game and especially against the big teams.”

Mata has enjoyed his fair share of clashes against Liverpool, with the highlight to date being his brace as Louis Van Gaal oversaw a 2-1 victory at Anfield in March 2015.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

“Since I arrived in Manchester, I felt this was the big game,” the United midfielder told the club’s website.

“Liverpool-United, United-Liverpool – everyone is waiting for those derbies, and you can feel it in the build-up to the game.

“During the week, everyone is speaking about it, everyone is thinking about it. We will try to make it very special.

“Obviously when you win and you’re in a good run of results, everyone is happier. It gives you more confidence to play even better.

“That’s what we’re living right now, and that’s what we want to keep until the end of the season – this positive momentum.”

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