Manchester United v Liverpool: Five Key Battles This Weekend
Sunday the 23rd of September 2012, we were treated to a typical Liverpool – Manchester United derby. Liverpool hosted Manchester United at Anfield, and the visitors ran out 1-2 victors in an emotional game, which saw midfielder Jonjo Shelvey controversially receive a red card for a tackle on Jonny Evans.
That didnt stop Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard volleying Liverpool in to the lead. However, goals from Rafael and a late, once again controversial penalty from Robin van Persie secured the three points for Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Anfield was an emotional arena after the recent publication of the findings of an independent panel investigating the disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
There were key, significant battles that game which allowed Manchester United to finish winners of the tie; and below I have listed where the game will be won and lost this Sunday at Old Trafford.
The summer signing from Arsenal has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season, and looks increasingly comfortable and confident with each game he plays for Manchester United. The forward scored his 20th goal last weekend against West Ham to earn United a 3rd round FA Cup replay, and has 7 goals in his last 7 games.
Liverpool have conceded just three goals in there last three league games, with back to back clean sheets against Sunderland and QPR respectively. No doubt Manchester United are in a different class, but the back five unit of Liverpool will arrive at Old Trafford in good form for the attacking onslaught van Persie & co. will no doubt bring.
Luis Suarez vs Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans.
I think Sir Alex Ferguson will rest Nemanja Vidic for such a high profile game, so Ferdinand and Evans will return to centre half for the Red Devils. Like Liverpool, Manchester United currently boast back to back clean sheets against Wigan and West Brom, however with 15 league goals to his name, Luis Suarez is in emphatic form.
Much has been made of Manchester United's leaky defence this season, and Liverpool will feel confident enough they can go to Old Trafford and score.
Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick vs Steven Gerrard, Lucas and Jordan Henderson.
Both sides love to play football, and with Brendan Rodgers' new influence at Liverpool the Anfield side are beginning to look better each game. However, Manchester United average around 60% of the possession each game this season, so much will depend on the midfield performances. Lucas Leiva has recently returned from injury, and is an integral part to Rodgers' style of play.
The cool, calm and collected Michael Carrick will sit next to Tom Cleverley, who is quickly turning into the engine of Manchester United's midfield with his quick-fire and accurate passing.
Liverpool topped the possession last game, with 53% to Manchester United's 47%.
Ashley Young vs Glen Johnson.
Ashley Young is beginning to hit form this season, with impressive performances against West Brom, Wigan and Newcastle. However, this weekend he faces England's number one right back.
Glen Johnson is performing exceptionally well for Liverpool this season, and has finally mastered the art of defence as well as attack. The right back is key part to Liverpool's attacking play too, with his bombarding runs up the right flank. Ashley Young will need to be on high alert from the adventurous runs from Johnson.
David De Gea vs Pepe Reina.
Both keepers have had an up and down this season, and will both be desperate for a clean sheet this weekend. David De Gea looks to have finally established himself as the clubs undisputed number one, whilst an injury to Pepe Reina threatened his spot in the team to the impressive Brad Jones.
A clean sheet for either keeper will do wonder's for their confidence, in what will no doubt be a typical, fiery derby this weekend.
Who Do You Think Will Win This Weekend?
Leave Me A Comment And Let Me Know.
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