Next Sunday, 14th of December 2014, (5:30 AM Pacific) two English powerhouses, Manchester United and Liverpool, will measure forces at the emblematic Theatre of Dreams (Old Trafford) for round 15 of the English Premier League, on a match of paramount importance both for the Red Devils, who are going through a fairly positive moment, and for the Reds, who are having a season to forget so far.
Losing to Manchester City early last month was probably the best thing that happened to United. Since such defeat seems to have catapulted the team to a completely different dimension, especially when it comes to effectiveness and motivation levels.
One way or another, Louis Van Gaal has apparently managed to ignite the flame that had been dormant for quite too long and that cost United three defeats and four draws in fifteen matches this season.
The Dutch manager, who is often criticized both by the media and even by some of United’s supporters, understood that before the team started to display some attractive football, they needed to win matches just for the sake of it, and in truth, that is what they have been doing over the last month. Manchester United’s overall performances are very far from brilliant but their effectiveness up front is remarkable.
On Monday’s clash against an attack-driven Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium, the Red Devils only made three goal attempts during the entire match and their ball possession percentage was fairly insignificant when compared with their opponents’, but the truth is that, in the end, they won the match by 2-1.
The stone cold finishing skills of Robin Van Persie allowed United to snatch an utterly important win on a match that was fairly special to Louis Van Gaal, who, believing in the media, still doesn’t have the best relationship with the Saints’ manager, his fellow countryman, Ronald Koeman.
United’s upcoming match against Liverpool will most certainly be no different from the previous clashes between these two sides, who still nurture a very tangible rivalry, regardless of the amount of points that separates them on the league table.
For that particular clash, Van Gaal still has to deal with a considerably large injury list, as he will probably not be able to rely on the contribution of Jones, Smalling, Blind, Shaw and maybe Di Maria, who are still recovering from their respective injuries.
As for Liverpool, the historical English club has been sailing through some troubled waters so far this season, both on domestic and on international competitions.
The Reds are currently on the ninth position of the table, fifteen points behind the league leaders, Chelsea, and seven points below their upcoming opponents.
On Wednesday night, Brendan Rodgers’ boys had to work hard in order to grant a home draw with FC Basel, in a match that marked their farewell to this season’s edition of the UEFA Champions League. Liverpool were pushed against the ropes during the first-half and it didn’t come as a surprise when Fabian Frei placed the ball inside Mignolet’s net on the 25th minute.
The Reds managed to rally their troops at half-time and, with just ten men (Lazar Markovic was sent off due to unsportsmanlike conduct early in the second-half), they scored the equalizer thanks to a flawless free-kick from their all-time captain, Steven Gerrard, on the 81st minute.
Manchester United vs Liverpool Probable Line-ups
Manchester United (4-1-3-2) – De Gea – Valencia – Rojo – Evans – Young – Carrick – Mata – Fellaini – Herrera – Rooney – Van Persie
Liverpool (4-3-3) – Mignolet – Moreno – Skrtel – Lovren – Johnson – Allen – Henderson – Gerrard – Sterling – Coutinho – Lambert
Manchester United vs Liverpool Prediction
To sum things up, if we take a closer look at both sides’ recent performances, it is probably fair to consider Manchester United favourites for the Old Trafford’s match next Sunday.
However, since we are talking about such historical rivals, we cannot foresee what will happen in a match that will definitely “take no prisoners”.
Manchester United 1 – 1 Liverpool
Manchester United vs Liverpool TV Schedule
The Manchester United vs Southampton game will be televised on Directv, NBCSN and NBC Sports Extra on Sunday, December 14th at 5:30 AM Pacific Time.