Manchester United vs Liverpool. It’s the first fixture that any Man United fan looks for when the fixtures are released and it is, without question, the biggest rivalry in English football.
Manchester City might have changed the landscape in Manchester and Chelsea have done the same down in London but when it comes to sheer rivalry, nothing comes near Liverpool for United and that will never change.
On Saturday night, surprisingly at 5.30pm given the games are usually early kick-offs, United play Liverpool at Old Trafford in the biggest game of the season so far. Brendan Rodgers and Louis van Gaal‘s sides have both had very similar starts to the season and go into it chasing a victory after suffering disappointing defeats in their last games against West Ham and Swansea respectively.
United are down as slight favourites to beat Liverpool but in a derby we all know that anything can happen, which is why it is so hard to judge heading into the weekend what will happen at Old Trafford under the floodlights.
From United’s perspective, the international break was really positive. Bastian Schweinsteiger played all 180 minutes for Germany and it was the first time he had completed a game this season, so for him to do it twice in the space of a week was great to see.
Marouane Fellaini also got among the goals along, Wayne Rooney became England’s all-time record goalscorer, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling were both superb in England’s games whilst the likes of Matteo Darmian played well Italy and Marcos Rojo was back in action with Argentina.
New boy Anthony Martial also made his France debut while compatriot Morgan Schneiderlin played 90 minutes against Serbia having been given 45 minutes in their first friendly against Portugal.
With no fresh injury concerns from the window, it puts United in good stead for this weekend where team selection is going to be crucial for van Gaal, just as it always is.
Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger in midfield is something which could give United a real edge over Liverpool, especially given that their captain Jordan Henderson is a doubt for the game. With no Steven Gerrard in their side, Liverpool lack that leader in midfield and United need to take advantage of that.
United are predicted to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation which van Gaal has adopted a lot this season, so it could see Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger play as the holding midfielders. Over the course of the year, that partnership could become so important for United.
It’s in defence where United have been so impressive this season so far. We’ve conceded an average of 0.5 goals per game, by comparison Liverpool have conceded an average of 0.75, so that’s something van Gaal will be looking to build on.
Will United’s new signing Martial make his competitive debut in the derby against Liverpool? It has been a big topic of discussion ahead of the kick-off for United fans. What a game that would be for the 19-year-old to come in and start his United career.
For more football predictions and key stats about Manchester United and Liverpool ahead of the weekend’s game, check out Betegy.com.