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    Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Preview


    One of the biggest games in world football takes place in the Premier League this weekend as second-place Manchester United entertain third-place Liverpool at Old Trafford.

    Although Manchester City are close to sealing the title with only nine matches of the season left to play, both their North-West rivals will battle it out in an effort to become the "Best of the Rest."

    Liverpool leapfrogged United in the table after their recent victories over West Ham and Newcastle, but The Red Devils responded on both occasions to set up a mouth-watering clash against one of their fiercest rivals at Saturday lunch-time.

    Manchester United

    Manchester United are on course for their highest Premier League finish since the last time they won the title back in 2012-13 but not everything has gone smoothly for Jose Mourinho's team this season.

    The Portuguese has been criticized throughout the campaign for playing a negative style of football, while the club have been unable find a system that brings the best out of Paul Pogba and new-signing Alexis Sanchez.

    United actually find themselves a greater number of points behind the Premier League leaders than they did at the same stage of the last campaign, although their own performances have vastly improved since 2016-17.

    After the same number of matches last season, The Reds Devils occupied fifth position in the competition having scored 13 goals fewer, conceded two goals more and accumulated eight fewer points.

    United responded to falling a point behind Liverpool two weeks ago by claiming a 2-1 win over Chelsea, while they repeat the trick against Crystal Palace on Monday night courtesy of Nemanja Matic's 91st-minute winner.

    The Red Devils will not be able to repeat the kind of sluggish start that they produced in both of their two previous matches on Saturday however, with their North-West rivals accumulating 105 goals this season in all competitions.

    Mourinho's side have scored an impressive 84 goals themselves in 2017-18, however, with Romelu Lukaku (23), Jesse Lingard (13), Anthony Martial (11) and Marcus Rashford (10) all reaching double figures.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool head into Saturday's clash against Manchester United in red-hot form having won 10 of their past 14 matches in all competitions, although they would still be foolish to underestimate their longtime rivals.

    Jurgen Klopp's side had won their five previous matches ahead of a clash against The Red Devils at Anfield in October 2016 but they were unable to break down a stubborn United rearguard and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

    That was one of four consecutive draws that have taken place between the two teams over the past two years, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 84th-minute equalizer denying Liverpool a famous win when the sides met at Old Trafford last season.

    Liverpool had been on a four-game winning run recently before they were held to a goalless draw against FC Porto on Tuesday night, a result that secured the club's passage into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2008-09.

    Klopp made five changes in midweek in an attempt to rest key players for Saturday, with Mohamed Salah only featuring for the final 16 minutes and the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk remaining on the bench.

    The German has named a similar line-up to the one which beat Newcastle 2-0 at Anfield seven days ago, although James Milner has earned a recall in midfield in-place of captain Jordan Henderson.

    A draw for Liverpool would be enough to keep hold of third-place in the table, unless fourth-place Tottenham secure an unlikely five-goal victory over Bournemouth on Sunday, while a win would elevate the club a point above United into second-place.

    Manchester United Team News

    Jose Mourinho has made three changes to the team which started against Crystal Palace on Monday night, with Juan Mata being preferred to Jesse Lingard in the continued absence of the injured Anthony Martial (thigh).

    Record-signing Paul Pogba has not been risked after he picked-up a knock in training and has been replaced by Marcus Rashford, who makes his first start for the club in over six weeks.

    Defender Eric Bailly starts his first game since early November in place of Victor Lindelof, while Marouane Fellaini has returned to the squad after seven weeks out with a knee problem and has been named as one of the substitutes.

    As well as Martial and Pogba, United's have five other players unavailable due to injury including Ander Herrera (hamstring), Daley Blind (ankle), Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo (both knocks) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (knee).

    Liverpool Team News

    Liverpool made five changes in midweek for the Champions League tie against FC Porto but have reverted back to a similar line-up to the one which cruised to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United seven days ago.

    James Milner has been preferred to Jordan Henderson in midfield, although the Liverpool captain has shaken-off a knock to take his place on the bench, while Georginio Wijnaldum is also named amongst the substitutes having recovered from illness.

    Andrew Robertson displaces Alberto Moreno in the left-back role, after he deputised for the Scot on Tuesday night, but centre-back Dejan Lovren has retained his place at the expense of Joel Matip.

    Right-back Nathaniel Clyne, meanwhile, is still not ready to make his first-team comeback although he returned to training last month following eight months out with a back injury.

    Head-to-head

    Saturday's encounter will be the 200th match ever played between Manchester United and Liverpool, with The Red Devils leading the way on 79 wins compared to their opponents' 65 victories.

    The previous four encounters between the two teams have ended in draws, including the goalless game at Anfield last October in which the home side dominated with 38 per cent of the overall possession.

    Liverpool haven't won at Old Trafford since March 2014, when two Steven Gerrard penalties and a late Luis Suarez goal steered The Reds towards an emphatic 3-0 victory to complete a league double over United that season.

    The two teams have met on 51 occasions in the history of the Premier League, with United winning 27 of those encounters compared to Liverpool's 13 victories, while 11 matches between the two teams have ended in draws.

    Score Prediction

    Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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