Can Liverpool leapfrog arch enemies Manchester United?
Getting one over on arch rivals Manchester United at Anfield would be sweet revenge for the painful 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, but the upcoming game could mean so much more to Liverpool than mere bragging rights.
The Reds have put themselves in a wonderful position to challenge for a consecutive top four finish, but with just nine Premier League fixtures remaining, securing three points has become much more important than performing well.
With Chelsea and Manchester City looking relatively secure to finish in the top four, Liverpool find themselves in the midst of a five-horse race for the two remaining Champions League spots, and while the Reds may arguably be the most in-form side, facing the team directly above them will be their biggest challenge yet.
Fans can back their team on the Betsafe mobile site too, before or during what could be a pivotal fixture in Liverpool’s season. There’ll be lots of people in the stands and in the pubs on their downloadable app too, checking live results, league table movement and final scores.
Liverpool may concede that they were far from their best at Swansea, but the 1-0 victory in South Wales has set them up nicely for the monumental clash with Manchester United. Brendan Rodgers will know that his team will have to perform much better than they did at the Liberty Stadium, but he could utilise the game as a reminder to his players that they cannot afford to let their standards slip in the same manner between now and the end of the season.
Extending the fantastic run of five straight league wins to six would be the perfect response from Liverpool, but Manchester United will certainly be no pushovers as they continue their own push towards a top four finish. With a trip to Arsenal next up for Rodgers’ team, securing three points would be a major fillip that could not only see Liverpool surge past both teams, but also Manchester City who have stuttered in recent weeks. Rodgers may be boosted by the potential return to fitness of Mario Balotelli and Lucas Leiva – both of which could play a vital role in the next few weeks for Liverpool.
Return to form
Three consecutive Premier League victories have put Manchester United in the best form possible ahead of what could be a season-defining match for both teams. Louis Van Gaal’s side showed signs of what they are capable of during their 3-0 win against Tottenham, but these performances have been few and far between.
Despite flattering to deceive on numerous occasions, they continue to pick up points to keep them in contention for a top four finish. However, playing away from home has been Manchester United’s Achilles heel; while they were extremely fortunate to be gifted a late winner at Newcastle, the 2-1 defeat at Swansea was more of a reflection of their struggles away from Old Trafford.
Van Gaal will be without Robin Van Persie for the trip to Anfield, although Marco Rojo could make a timely return to fitness following Jonny Evans’ lengthy ban for his involvement in the spitting incident with Papis Cisse at St. James’ Park.