Manchester United v Liverpool: Team News, Preview, Key Duels & Prediction



It is only a matter of hours before United play Liverpool in the Guinness International Champions Cup. The rivalry between both sides is the stuff of lore, and the fact that both sides are overcoming obstacles of differing proportions makes this game all about the rivalry, as both sides desire the title, but only one of these sides can get it.

 Last season saw a role reversal, as Liverpool jumped towards the top of the table, while Manchester United saw their worst finish in the Premier League-era. The fact that 7th place was their worst finish in a long time speaks volumes about the consistency that had been maintained over various competitions at United under the watchful eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson. Liverpool, on the other hand, has not been triumphant in the Premier League-era, but they have come close on a number of occasions, and have won other tournaments. However, Liverpool was in a state of decline over the 3 seasons prior to the last season, while United were at the top.

Now, United have brought an accomplished manager in the form of Louis van Gaal, who has already started to make a mark on the club. United fans are looking at last season as an anomaly, as the players are adapting fantastically to the new 3-5-2 formation and are looking set to compete for trophies. Liverpool, on the other hand, have lost their main goal-scorer in the form of Luis Suarez, who has moved to FC Barcelona, but the other attackers have shown no signs of putting a full stop to relentlessly drubbing teams, by scoring goals continuously. This game will enable us to see the progress that both sides have made, even though it is a preseason game and both sides haven’t actually hit top gear, yet. This game cannot be taken as a precursor to any future fixtures, as both sides tend to push themselves to win against the other, in each and every game.

United’s defence seems to be wearing a confident look, but a strike-force of Sterling, Sturridge and Markovic could tear United’s defence apart. On the other hand, United have dominated possession and have moved into attacking areas quickly, as the impact of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata supplying the attack with key passes, and some Wayne Rooney master-performances have resulted in United’s wins so far.

Key duels:

Jordan Henderson v/s Ander Herrera: Both players are good on and off the ball, and occupy the same areas on the pitch, so expect them to contest for the ball while in midfield, each putting in tackles on the other to win possession and create chances for their own respective sides to score. Henderson is trying to establish himself as Gerrard’s true successor, while Herrera is trying to make his place in United’s first-team after his transfer, so expect this to be a fiery contest.

Daniel Sturridge v/s Jonny Evans: Daniel Sturridge proved last season that he could be consistent over the duration of an entire season, as he made the most of his chances and almost forced Wayne Rooney out of his favoured position as striker for England. On the other hand, Evans, if he has an injury-free season, could make this his breakthrough year, after failing to deceive so far, if he can put in consistent performances for his club.

Ashley Young v/s Martin Kelly/Glen Johnson: Ashley Young has never looked happier while in a United jersey, as he seems to have found a knack for getting into space and he looks menacing while taking on opposition defenders, in his new left wing-back role. Glen Johnson is susceptible to mistakes, for which he will be caught out if Young carries his impressive form into this game. Martin Kelly, on the other hand, is more defensively inclined, and could do a better job against Young, so he should start ahead of Glen Johnson.

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