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England Premier League Week 17: 15-16 Dec

spkutano

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Liverpool vs Manchester United Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Liverpool:
Alisson, Milner, Lovren, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Manchester United:
De Gea, Young, Jones, Bailly, Shaw, Matic, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku

The rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool is considered to be one of the biggest in Europe. The clubs are the two most successful teams in England with 62 trophies for Manchester United and 59 trophies for Liverpool. Even Ryan Giggs claimed that Liverpool against Manchester United is "probably the most famous fixture in English football". Liverpool dominated English football from 1975 to 1990, winning 11 league titles and four European Cups. Manchester United, meanwhile, have dominated during Ferguson's era, from 1993. In that period the Red Devils won 13 league championships and two European Cups.

The rivalry has extended to the players as well. In the season 2011/12, the rivalry was exacerbated by claims that, in the first match at Anfield, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra. After considering the evidence, an FA panel found that Suarez had referred to Evra using the term "negro" seven times. Suarez himself admitted to having done so once, but denied racism. He said that his grandmother was black and the word "negro" is normal in his vocabulary, as well as in his country. However, Suarez was banned for eight games. On 11 February 2012, United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, and Suarez started a match for the first time since he began his ban. Prior to kick-off, the two teams were expected to shake hands, but Suarez ignored Evra's offered hand. Manchester won 2:1 at the end and Evra celebrated in front of the home supporters, provoking Suarez who was close by. Sir Alex Ferguson declared Suarez to be a "disgrace" and suggested that he should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again. The next day, Suarez, Dalglish and Liverpool all issued statements of apology for the handshake incident, which United accepted. In the next period Suarez and Evra started to behavior as sportsmen.

The tradition is on Manchester side. The two sides have met 200 times with United winning 80 of them, while Liverpool have 65 victories and 55 match finished without winner. Counting only the league games, United have 68 wins, while Liverpool 55 (with 47 draws).

That's the introduction, now about the match. Liverpool managed to beat Bournemout with 4:0 last weekend and took the first place in the Premier League, one point ahead of Manchester City. Mohamed Salah was the key player scoring a hat-trick. During the midweek Liverpool won 1:0 against Napoli in the Champions League and secured the knock-out stage. Once again Salah decided the match. The atmosphere in the squad is good, while the players confidence is high. But Klopp has big injury worries ahead of this match, particularly in the defense. Joe Gomez is sidelined for at least six weeks due to a lower leg fracture. Two more defenders suffered injuries in the match against Napoli. Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has a foot injury and he is rated as doubtful, while central defender Joel Matip is definitely sidelined with a broken collarbone. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is a long-term injury victim. James Milner could start as right back, but he left the Napoli game with cramps. Fabinho is another option for that position.

Manchester United are on the sixth place. The fans are not satisfied with the actual situation and manager Jose Mourinho feels big pressure. The actual form isn't at desired level, they have just one victory on the previous five matches in the Premier League. If something could be evaluate as positive, that's the fact they won last weekend. The Red Devils outplayed Fulham and won 4:1. Four goals were scored by four different players - Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford. Manchester visited Valencia in the Champions League during the midweek, but lost 2:1. Mourinho rested a number of first team players and will restore most of them here. Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo remain sidelined due to injuries, while Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian and Diogo Dalot are rated as doubtful.

Liverpool vs Manchester United Prediction:

I expect a low scoring match here. The last two mutual games played at Anfield haven't produced a single goal. It was a great tactical battle between Klopp and Mourinho. The Reds haven't won a Premier League game at home to United since September 2013. In addition, Jose Mourinho has not lost to Klopp’s Liverpool as Manchester United manager. The Portuguese coach always find a way to nullify Liverpool’s high-flying attack. I expect something similar again.

Liverpool vs Manchester United Pick: Under 2.5 goals
 
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