English football’s most decorated clubs meet on Sunday as Liverpool take on Manchester United at Anfield.
Both clubs have seen their prolonged spells of glory reach a shuddering halt, but that doesn’t prevent this matchup, the 194th between the sides, being one of the most exciting on the calendar.
Here are five thing you need to look out for.
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This one should be a thriller
Liverpool and United were both involved in 3-3 draws that involved 90th minute equalisers in the week, and this game promises goals aplenty.
Eight of the last 10 meetings have featured three or more goals and after their midweek displays it’s only right to expect Simon Mignolet and David de Gea to be kept busy throughout.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has come under fire for his side’s dull performances but hit back this week, blaming United’s tediousness on their opponents’ negativity.
That certainly cannot be said of Jurgen Klopp’s team - against Arsenal on Wednesday they made a rip-roaring start to the game, immediately putting the Gunners on the back foot.
Liverpool and Manchester United only do memorable clashes, and this should deliver another one.
Juan Mata shone in this fixture last season, but there’s no guarantee he’ll start on Sunday
Juan Mata was subbed against Sheffield United in the FA Cup because he refused to stay on the wing, Van Gaal said after the game.
"We needed to play with wingers to make the pitch as big as possible. Memphis and Lingard did that, I also asked that of Mata but he was never there," Van Gaal said, reported the Daily Mail.
Against Newcastle on Tuesday he didn’t even start.
Yet Mata was the star of the show when these sides last met at Anfield, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win in March.
Mata’s surely hoping Van Gaal has a good memory.
Liverpool must start fast again
Liverpool came out firing against Arsenal and scored two goals in the opening 20 minutes.
They were aggressive and harried Arsenal whenever the Gunners had the ball.
It was the blueprint for how Klopp has asked his team to play and if Liverpool make another blistering start they will be tough to beat.
A win would ease the pressure on Van Gaal
This isn’t a ‘win or you’re fired’ game for Van Gaal, but a defeat will cause growing concern for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, according to the Independent.
Van Gaal could be replaced if his side lose touch with the top four. They are currently sixth, two points adrift of fourth place.
In his Friday press conference Klopp called Louis van Gaal the John Lennon of football. Now he has the chance to put a dent in his career.
We’ll see if Wayne Rooney’s virtuoso performance against Newcastle was just a mirage
Wayne Rooney has endured an indifferent season, showing signs that his time as United’s star player is nearing an end.
The 30-year-old reminded everyone of his talent against Newcastle, scoring twice and assisting Jesse Lingard’s goal to cap his best game of the season.
If he can lead United to victory on Sunday, we’ll start believing that Rooney is back.
Who will come out victorious between Liverpool and Manchester United?
Who will come out on top between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday?
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