An Occasion Built for Jurgen and the Kop

Predicted XI’s

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Touré, Sakho, Moreno, Henderson, Lucas, Can, Milner, Firmino, Lallana

Manchester United: de Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Young, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Martial, Mata, Lingard, Rooney

It is a strange and wonderful world in the Premier League this year. With both teams drawing 3-3 in the week, Liverpool undoubtedly will see their late comeback goal (curtesy of Joe Allen) as one point gained compared to Manchester United’s two points dropped thanks to Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett.

For two of the most successful teams in English football, this is one fixture where league position falls by the way side for more personal matters. With Liverpool 13 points and Manchester United 10 points off the top of the league, both team’s will be focussing more on Champions League football but has Steven Gerrard’s red card cameo reinforced last season, this is a game where sometimes the 90 minutes can be more important than the season’s objectives.

As mentioned earlier, Liverpool will undoubtedly be the happier side after their mid-week draw against Arsenal. The inclusion of Emre Can, James Milner, Jordon Henderson and Jorden Ibe underline just the depth Klopp has been lacking in recent weeks. The decision to play with Roberto Firmino as a false no.9 once again proved an inspired selection. After seeing the defeats of Chelsea and Manchester City, the draw to Arsenal surely reinforces what Klopp’s vision for Liverpool is going forward next season should be.

Manchester United would love to have such a concrete idea of what their style of play next season should be. Van Gaal’s record in the past is irrefutably impressive, yet this Manchester United team is insipid, stagnate and slow. It says much about United’s season where you can imagine a 3-3 draw away at Newcastle holds more positives than the 2-1 victory over Swansea 10 day earlier. With injuries to both Carrick and Schweinsteiger, Van Gaal’s hand is forced again to sacrifice defensive solidarity by fielding Schneiderlin and one other. Against Newcastle it was Fellaini, but potentially pairing Schneiderlin with Herrera and bringing Mata back into the no.10 role certainly could offer Manchester United with ball playing capabilities with a genuine creative edge across the midfield.

Expect a cagey trading of early skirmishes at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. Van Gaal will want Manchester United to stifle Liverpool, get on the ball and take the sting out of Anfield crowd. Silence the atmosphere and stay tight. The success of this however is much down to Liverpool’s approach to game. Against Arsenal, Liverpool were fantastic. At Upton Park however, Liverpool were without the energy that Klopp asks of his players. If Klopp sets his team up similar to the way he did against Arsenal, Liverpool could end the day level with points with Manchester United and Louis Van Gaal under real pressure in keeping his job.

Match Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United

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