Manchester United welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford in the early kick off this Sunday. Two of the top teams in England battle it out once again in what is no doubt one of the most anticipated fixtures for both sets of fans.
For Manchester United, Wayne Rooney remains sidelined, due to a knee problem as well as the star being absent on compassionate leave. However, United will be pleased to welcome back Luis Nani and Anderson to the match day squad. Nani has been sidelined since the beginning of November with a hamstring injury while Anderson has been missing since he also reported a hamstring problem in early December.
For Liverpool, Jose Enrique remains sidelined till around February following his hamstring tear against QPR, so Stewart Downing could fill in either at left back or left wing for Brendan Rodgers' side. However, after signing a new long term deal, Andre Wisdom could come in at right back, with Glen Johnson slotting in at left back . The two sides met earlier this season and battled it out in an emotional, high tempo game. United ran away with it with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool, after winning a late penalty through Antonio Valencia, which Robin van Persie slotted into the top right hand corner, despite Pepe Reina getting a hand to it.
Daniel Sturridge could make his league debut for Liverpool this weekend, after scoring on his debut for Liverpool in the FA Cup against Mansfield. The England international took just 7 minutes to open his account for the Reds, cooly slotting past Alan Marriott from a Jonjo Shelvey pass.
The two sides currently boast the first and second top scorer in the Premier League this season, with just one goal separating Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez. The Dutchman has been in scintillating form for United this season, and has scored 20 goals in all competitions. The same can be said about Luis Suarez, who up until now has been carrying the Liverpool attack. His 19 goals in all competition's this season suggests this will be a typical, high scoring fixture.
Nemanja Vidic has made his imminent return from injury for United, but I think Fergie will have to resist putting the Serb in the starting line up. The emotion and atmosphere, as well as Luis Suarez may be too much for Vidic too soon. Rio Ferdinand will be joined with Johnny Evans at the back, whilst Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia will give width to the United attack with Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez up top. The Dutchman will be keen to continue his rich run of form infront of goal, as he looks to escape second place Luis Suarez and win The Golden Boot at the end of the season.
Daniel Sturridge will earn a spot on the bench this weekend, with Luis Suarez set to lead the line against Manchester United. Jordan Henderson has been a recent inclusion in the Liverpool squad, and his impressive performances will earn him a call up to the starting eleven. Pepe Reina will marshall a back four of Andre Wisdom, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson. The right back will move over to the left to battle against Manchester United's number 7, Antonio Valencia. The two were involved in a controversial penalty decision last game, and Johnson will be keen to have another go at the Ecuadorian.
This fixture will no doubt be crucial to both teams seasons, as no matter how either side are doing for form in the league, they both step it up for this derby. With Manchester City playing Arsenal, United will be keen to take advantage of the opportunity to increase their lead at the top of Premier League table.