Friday, 4 March 2011

Liverpool vs. Manchester United - Match Preview

Article first published as Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Manchester United on Technorati.
Manchester Travels to Merseyside to Face the Reds at Anfield with the EPL Title possible on the line for the Red Devils

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
March 5, 2011

Can the New Boys all Make an Impact Sunday?
Kenny Dalglish and his charges will host Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United Red Devils early Sunday afternoon at Anfield in front of a full Kop. The Reds took a devastating blow in their UEFA Champions League hopes when they fell to West Ham at the Boleyn Grounds a week ago, and the Manc's suffered a dreaded set back to their title hopes in a loss at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea on Tuesday night.

This sets the stage for yet another Dalglish vs Ferguson Match-up. The two Scotsmen have faced each other many times before. Dalglish stiffed his counterparts chances of a title in 1995 as Dalglish took Blackburn Rovers to the English Premier League title that year. Now King Kenny will hope that another victory over United will stifle if not eliminate the chances of Ferguson winning another as it would see his team to their 19th League Title surpassing Liverpool whom they are tied with on 18 currently.

Gerrard Ready after Being Sent of at Old Trafford
Injuries and suspensions are likely to play a heavy part on both sides as they are battered and tattered after a harsh campaign. This has been a crazy up and down year in the EPL and it looks to continue that trend.

Martin Kelly is definately a no-go for the Reds as he is out for at least a month due to his hamstring strain. Jonjo Shelvey is also out of contention for the bench according to Dalglish's press conference on Thursday. Daniel Agger, and Fabio Aurelio are both day to day, and Andrew Carroll is nearing his time to shine but it is unforeseen what the weekend holds for him.

Last time these to met at the beginning of Dalglish's new tenure the Red Devils won on an early penalty and saw Steven Gerrard sent off at the 32nd minute. This time around the Red Devils will be the team without their Captain Nemanja Vidic at the back. However, they will also be without their other star defender Rio Ferdinand, unless his injury is a staging point for Ferguson to throw on a miraculously healed vice-Captain. The Red Devils will have to rely on youth in Chris Smalling, and also on Wes Brown who has failed to truly get off the floor this campaign.

The Reds defense will also deal with a reshuffle. With Agger and Aurelio doubts it will possibly be back to Sotirios Kyrgiakos filling in next to Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel. Danny Wison could get the nod, but I truly see Agger and Aurelio making the cut.
Carra must be Up for It

United desperately need this win to stave off a charging challenger behind them in Arsenal and I would look to see Ferguson do one of two things, either pack his midfield in the beginning to help keep possession with Wayne Rooney alone up top, or her will go all out with Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov both charging up the middle.

After Kelly's injury on Sunday the Reds switch to a 4-4-2 rendered them in a tough spot in that match. I see Dalglish to go back to his 5-3-2 with Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio taking the attack to the wings. The loss of the Torres and Vidic match-up opens up the possibility of seeing a new battle that will epitomize the future match-ups as Suarez vs. Smalling could prove a big one for the coming years.

Predicted Line-Ups for the Match

Possible Liverpool Starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio; Lucas, Gerrard, Meireles; Kuyt, Suarez.

Liverpool Subs: Carroll, Maxi, Wilson, Ngog, Kyrgiakos, Poulsen, Gulacsi.

Possible Manchester United Starting XI: Van Der Sar; O'Shea, Brown, Smalling, Evra; Fletcher, Carrick; Giggs, Scholes, Nani; Rooney.

Manchester United Subs: Kuszczak, Fabio, Anderson, Berbatov, Chicarito, Gibson, Valencia.

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