The rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool is arguably the biggest in English football history and both sides clash later today it will be for the 194th-time.
Neutrals will expect a spectacle but both fans won’t mind for a tight game as long as they come out tops bearing in mind that in midweek they recorded a pulsating 3-3 draws against Newcastle United and Arsenal respectively.
However, United manager Louis van Gaal will head into this game the more confident of the two managers as he has Captain Wayne Rooney back scoring and won against The Reds 3-1 the last time they met in September.
Jurgen Klopp enjoys the big games like he has shown already against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. A win takes Liverpool level on point with Manchester United with both teams aiming to finish in the top four this season.
Nigeria’s leading soccer portal, 366football.com takes a closer look at key battles as both teams go head-to-head.
Manchester United have Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw are all still sidelined while Liverpool have several injury problems, with key playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and Divock Origi all out but we expected a thrilling game of football at Anfield this afternoon.
Wayne Rooney vs Mamadou Sakho
Wayne Rooney is enjoying his football once against and has scored four goals in his last three matches for Manchester United and will be a handful for French international Mamadou Sakho who had a torrid time in the 3-3 draw against Arsenal on Wednesday.
Amazingly, Rooney has not scored at Anfield in ten years but the Liverpool defence doesn’t strike fear into opponents and this maybe the 30-year-old’s opportunity to break that duck.
Anthony Martial vs Nathaniel Clyne
Anthony Martial scored on his debut against the Reds at Old Trafford and has since won a place in the hearts of Manchester United fans, whom might sing his name out loud at Anfield but it won’t be all rosy for the most expensive teenager in the world as England international Nathaniel Clyne is a very tough customer and their battle will be one of the major highlights of the game today.
Chris Smalling vs Roberto Firmino
Chris Smalling is arguably the most improved defender in the premier league but was at fault last week when he conceded a poor penalty for Newcatle United’s leveller and Louis van Gaal’s men went on to draw the game 3-3.
Against Brazilian born Roberto Firmino he has to be at his best because the former Bundesliga star has a knack for playing well in big games like he has shown against Chelsea, Manchester City and just on Tuesday, he grabbed a brace against Arsenal in a classic 3-3 draw.
Morgan Schneiderlin vs Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson will try to dictate the pace of the game from midfield but will have a tough time doing so with very close attention from Morgan Schneiderlin and from their battle the whole match can become so explosive.
David de Gea vs Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke scored a spectacular overhead kick past David de Gea in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in September, his third in consecutive fixtures against the Reds after his Aston Villa exploits.
Today he will hope to start but Jurgen Klopp prefers playing Firmino in a false nine role which means like September, the Belgian may just start from the bench again.
Interestingly, it will be the first time this derby will be played with foreign managers in charge for both teams. Jurgen Klopp and Louis van Gaal have met before when they were both manager of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively and the Dutchman handed the German his worst managerial result at home with a 5-1 defeat.
Will that play a psychological factor in today’s match? The Kop fans will hope not while the United fans will pray it does and hand them a win like last season.
You can start sending in your thoughts and give us a prediction.