Manchester United v Liverpool
Premier League (13th January, 2013 – 13:30 KO)
Norman Whiteside on facing Liverpool: “It’s the first date you look for when the fixture list comes out. I still think it’s the biggest game of the season.”
Anderson and Nani are back in training but the game will likely come too soon. Wayne Rooney could (and therefore probably will) return from his knee injury. If he doesn’t, Javier Hernandez (8 league goals) will likely start. Both Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic continue their post-injury comebacks and will have their fitness assessed. United have the best home attack in the Premier League (28). Robin van Persie top scorer with 16 league goals. 64 matches since a 0-0 draw. United are on a run of 8 wins and 1 draw since November’s 1-0 reverse at Norwich.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Young, Rooney, van Persie
Home record: P10 W9 D0 L1 F28 A13 Pts27
Home form: W W W W W W
Read Sir Alex Ferguson’s press conference here
Captain Steven Gerrard on Liverpool’s season: “I’m confident that come the end of the season I will be satisfied with myself and the team, because I do believe we can finish the season really strong.”
Jose Enrique, Martin Kelly and Fabio Borini all miss out through injury. New signing Daniel Sturridge could be in line for his first Premier League start. Young full-back, Andre Wisdom, signed a new long-term contract this week. Talisman (I’m being generous) Luis Suarez is a guaranteed starter, as is club captain Steven Gerrard, who has played every league game this season. Liverpool have the fourth best away attack in the Premier League (17). Luis Suarez top scorer with 15 league goals. Club has won their last two matches, both 3-0.
Predicted Liverpool line-up: Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez
Away record: P10 W3 D4 L3 F17 A16 Pts13
Away form: D D L W L W
Manager: Brendan Rogers.
Recent meetings at Old Trafford: United 2-1 Liverpool (11-02-12), United 1-0 Liverpool (FA Cup, 09-01-11), United 3-2 Liverpool (19-09-10), United 2-1 Liverpool (21-03-10)
Referee: Howard Webb. Has officiated 16 Premier League matches this season, brandishing 57 yellow cards and 2 reds. Has awarded 2 penalties (1 of which to Liverpool at Stoke).
2012/13 head-to-head (PL)
Goals: (United) 54 – (Liverpool) 34
Conceded: 28 – 26
Top scorer: Robin van Persie (16) – Luis Suarez (15)
Assists: Wayne Rooney (7) – Steven Gerrard (8)
Disciplinary: 35 yellows, 0 reds – 27 yellows, 2 reds
Shots per game: 15.9 – 19.6
Average possession: 58.4% – 59.3%
Past success rate: 86.9 – 85.2%
Best passer: Michael Carrick (88.4%) – Joe Allen (90.5%)
Most appearances: Carrick, Evra (20) – Gerrard (21)
Ryan Giggs has made a record 46 appearances against Liverpool. Paul Scholes (33) comes next. Only Arsenal (48) have tangled with the Welshman on more occasions.
The last time Howard Webb refereed this game he sent off Steven Gerrard for a dangerous tackle on Michael Carrick.
At home, Michael Carrick averages 79.1 passes per game (88.1% success), United’s highest. Away from home, Liverpool’s best passer is Joe Allen, averaging 72.3 (90.8%) per match.
Luis Suarez has scored 15 league goals from, on average, 6.2 shots per game. Robin van Persie has 16 league goals from only 3.5 shots per game.
Only Swansea’s Michu (8) has scored more home goals than Robin van Persie (7). Only van Persie (9) has scored more away goals than Luis Suarez (8).
United’s comeback 2-1 victory at Anfield in September was 1 of 8 matches won from losing positions this season. Liverpool have 1 comeback win under their belt so far.
United have won the last four Old Trafford encounters with Liverpool, all by the odd goal.
Score prediction: United 2-1 Liverpool
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