Liverpool v Manchester United – Match Preview

Sir Alex Ferguson takes his table-topping Manchester United side to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime to face off against Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool.The Scotsmen have built up a long and heated rivalry over the years and that will be evident on the field as both sides look to continue their impressive form.

Before the international break Dalglish’s men had grinded out a 2-0 win down the road at Mersey rivals Everton but the visit of United will pose a much greater threat. Andy Carroll was on the mark in that game and with confidence now flowing through the 22-year-old’s ample frame he’ll be tasked with unsettling the Red Devil’s young defence. Dalglish is unbeaten in his last five league games against United – a run stretching back to 1986. He could have Steven Gerrard back in the starting eleven for the first time this season. He’s scored four goals in this fixture and will be eager to make it five if he’s thrown back into the mix. The game also marks the first anniversary of John W. Henry’s takeover at Anfield and there is no doubt his arrival coincided with the clubs incredible turnaround. This time last year the beleaguered Roy Hodgson was in charge and floundering at every turn. Now they have a club legend in the dugout and a squad packed to the rafters with multi-million pound talent.

Their record against United is strong and they haven’t tasted defeat in this fixture at Anfield since 2007. Ferguson’s side have lost on their last three visits and they’ll need to perform a lot better than they did against Norwich two weeks ago. Despite being punished with a three-match ban for his red card in Montenegro last week Wayne Rooney will lead the Red Devil’s attack looking to score at Anfield for the for the first time since 2005 when he hit the winner in a 1-0 victory. The England striker already has nine goals to his name this season and reaching double figures will be a high priority. United have smashed 34 goals in and are unbeaten in 11 league and cup games. They are sitting pretty at the Premier League and that could be put down to their unwavering resilience. Statistically they at their most potent in front of goal during the last five minutes of the game so Liverpool fans should be wary of checking their watches too early.

Key Players

Jose Enrique – The Spanish fullback has had a great start to life at Anfield and will be crucial to Liverpool’s chances on Saturday. With Nani and Ashley Young having a penchant to swap wings throughout a game Enrique will need to have his defensive hat on to snuff out two of United’s main attacking threats.

Wayne Rooney – Despite his sending off for England last week Rooney is still an integral part of Ferguson’s side with nine goals to his name already this season. The striker is in red-hot form his boss will be looking at him to provide the inspiration and goals to give secure victory over his old foes.

Verdict: 1-1

  • Jose Enrique is Liverpool’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in 21st place followed by Luis Suarez in 21st place
  • Liverpool defeated one of their great rivals in their last Barclays Premier League game. Liverpool covered 107.6km in the game against Everton compared to the Toffees 106.4km.
  • Wayne Rooney remains the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 9 goals this season. Rooney has had an incredible 32 attempts at goal this season, one every 18 minutes, getting 59% on target
  • Rooney has gone on the record recently as saying that United are now defending from the front like Barcelona, and the stats show he is right. Rooney, Nani, and Young have won 6, 9 and 5 tackles respectively this season. This is especially impressive when you compare it to cross-city rivals Aguero and Dzeko who have each won just one tackle.