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Preview: Mourinho’s Manchester United host Klopp’s Liverpool

United are seeking a 10th win on the trot, but can their arch-rivals Liverpool play spoilsport?

SNS | New Delhi |

Two of the Premier League’s most in-form sides clash in the English Premier League on what would truly be a super Sunday.

Manchester United vs Liverpool, however, always sets the stakes high, regardless of league position. For, they are English football’s most successful clubs and a deep-rooted hatred between their fans will surely add to the thrill.

The last time the sides met, United were stuttering in attack and manager Jose Mourinho smartly sent out a side that just about ensured a drab 0-0 draw in October.

Manchester United

United, however, aren't struggling in attack anymore. They are now a potent threat, thanks to the impressive displays of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic has been rested in recent cup ties after falling ill. But ‘The Emperor’ is expected to lead the line in United’s 4-3-3 formation come Sunday.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp knows well from their Borussia Dortmund days. His recent impressive form should see him start on the wing despite playing a major part in the midweek win over Hull. Predicting the other winger is tough as Anthony Martial and Juan Mata both had put up a good show in recent weeks. To add to the mix, captain Wayne Rooney is on the cusp of breaking United's goalscoring record which he currently shares with the legendary Bobby Charlton. Scoring goal no. 250 against United's most-hated rivals will really be the icing on the cake, but whether he starts this crunch game or not is difficult to predict.

In midfield, Michael Carrick, Pogba and Ander Herrera will gel well and boost their chances of coming out on top.

Their defence is arguably their weak link, with a flat back-four of Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia set to start.

And last but definitely not the least, the Red Devils’ savior in many United-Liverpool clashes, David de Gea stands in goal and is expected to have muddy gloves come full-time on Sunday.

Rojo has been struggling with a muscular problem. In case he can’t make it, Phil Jones should step in. Eric Bailly remains unavailable, since he is away for the African Cup of Nations. Barring those two, United don't have any injury concerns.
 

Liverpool

Flying high in the Premier League, Liverpool seem to have come undone in cup competitions in recent weeks. 

And the loss of Sadio Mane (African Cup of Nations duty) is a big blow for the Reds, but with Philippe Coutinho back in the fold, it isn't all bad news ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.

Roberto Firmino is expected to play as the centre-forward, a role he has been excellent in this season, with Coutinho and Divock Origi operating on the wings.

Jordan Henderson (back in training), Adam Lallana and Giorgino Wijnaldum seem perfectly suited to Klopp’s gegenpressing style, contributing from midfield with important goals every now and then.

Their defence isn't the best in the league by far, often leaking goals despite dominating most parts of the game. And with the erratic Simon Mignolet in goal, Liverpool fans will hope he brings his ‘A’ game.

Danny Ings is the only long-term absentee for the Reds, as Joel Matip has returned to full training this week.

Super Stat: Manchester United have won eight out of their last 10 home league games against Liverpool, with Liverpool coming out on top  just twice!