English Premiership

Old Trafford stage set for fiery performance

2017-01-15 06:08
Manchester United's Ander Herrera. (Getty Images)

Manchester - One of the Premier League’s fiercest rivalries will resume on Sunday evening when Manchester United host Liverpool at Old Trafford.

José Mourinho’s charges come into the tie brimming with confidence after racking up six consecutive league wins, while also going unbeaten for 15 games in all competitions. United’s most recent result was a 2-0 win over Hull City in the English Football League Cup.

Despite the positive run of results, United remain in sixth position in the league standings – three points below the top four. They have occupied sixth spot since November 19.

Speaking after United’s unconvincing win over Hull on Tuesday, Mourinho told the media: “The game is over, now I think about Sunday ... I have to do better...the players need to do better and the stadium has to do better".

In team news, Mourinho expects enigmatic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be available after recovering from a midweek illness, but Marcos Rojo remains a doubt with a muscular injury.

A key man for the hosts may be Juan Mata. The Spaniard has had a hand in five goals in his last four league games against Liverpool, netting three and assisting in a further two.

Should Wayne Rooney play a part for United, he will become the 21st player to reach 450 career appearances in the Premier League. Only Steven Gerrard has scored more goals (eight) in this fixture than the Reds striker.

Fitness tests

Meanwhile, Liverpool will be determined to keep their title challenge on track with the visit to Old Trafford. The Reds are second in the Premier League standings and trail leaders Chelsea by five points. Jürgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten in their last six league encounters, winning four. However, their most recent outing saw them lose 1-0 to Southampton in the English Football League Cup.

On the team news front, Klopp will be unable to call on centre-forward Danny Ings, who is still recovering from a knee operation, while Ádám Bogdán remains sidelined with a cruciate ligament rupture. The German tactician may also be without captain Jordan Henderson and Joël Matip, who will need to undergo fitness tests ahead of the game.

The Reds may look to the influence of Adam Lallana when they travel to United’s home ground. The Englishman has been involved in 14 Premier League goals this season, scoring seven and assisting a further seven.

The Africa Cup of Nations competition will have an impact on both sides, though, as Eric Bailly is unavailable for United, while Sadio Mané is not an option for the Reds.

Sunday's clash will be the two teams’ 50th meeting in the Premier League. United have claimed 27 wins, while Liverpool have notched up 13 victories, with nine draws.

A worrying statistic for the visitors is that they have lost 11 of their last 14 games at the Theatre of Dreams.

The last two encounters between these two sides ended in draws. – TEAMtalk Media


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