English Premiership

Liverpool loom for under-pressure Van Gaal

2016-01-14 17:40
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)
Louis van Gaal (Supplied)

London - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal would rather be taking his under-performing team anywhere but bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday as speculation continues over his future at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal's trials and tribulations are continuing to dominate the back pages with United slipping to sixth after conceding a last-minute equaliser to draw 3-3 at Newcastle United on Tuesday, a result the Dutchman said felt like a defeat.

In contrast, Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Arsenal 24 hours later felt more like a win to boss Juergen Klopp after Joe Allen's 90th minute equaliser stopped Arsene Wenger's table-toppers in their tracks.

Liverpool's rivalry with United is one of the most intense in English football and even after the thrilling draw with Arsenal Klopp was already thinking about United's visit to Anfield.

"It was a great game of football," he said, "and ultimately, we will talk about this game, maybe not for too long, because on Sunday we play Manchester United, but it will not be easy to forget it," he said.

Van Gaal's mood was far less upbeat, ruing the loss of two important points, and then insulting a journalist at the end of his post-match news conference.

"We had to win and we didn't do it, we are very disappointed but can only blame ourselves," he said.

The biggest problem facing Liverpool might be their own crippling injury concerns rather than United's indifferent form which has seen them win twice in eight league matches.

Liverpool have 11 players in the treatment room, although they showed real resilience to gain a point against Arsenal.

Arsenal, who top the table with 43 points after 21 games, ahead of Leicester City on goal difference, travel to Stoke City on Sunday and could start the match in second place if Leicester win at bottom side Aston Villa on Saturday.

Leicester ended a run of three league matches without a goal with a late Robert Huth header giving them a 1-0 win at fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

Spurs, who are now seven points behind the leaders, host relegation-threatened Sunderland in Saturday's early kick-off with Sunderland buoyed by a 4-2 win at Swansea City on Wednesday with former Spurs favourite Jermain Defoe scoring a hat-trick.

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25 February 2017
Everton v Sunderland, Goodison Park 17:00
Hull City v Burnley, Kingston Communications Stadium 17:00
Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough, Selhurst Park 17:00
Southampton v Arsenal, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Swansea City, Stamford Bridge 17:00
West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth, The Hawthorns 17:00
Watford v West Ham United, Vicarage Road Stadium 19:30
26 February 2017
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City, White Hart Lane 15:30
Manchester City v Manchester United, Etihad Stadium 16:15
27 February 2017
Leicester City v Liverpool, King Power Stadium 22:00
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