The constant tinkering with system and selection by both teams, that resulted in sluggish fare during the first half of the season, could now take the back seat.
Liverpool, with the 3-1-4-2 formation, looks stronger and quicker in the press while United’s 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3, with Marouane Fellaini in the No. 10 role, has hunger and pace.
The Belgian produced his best-ever performance in United colours by expertly exploiting the space behind the wing-backs against Tottenham, and is crucial to Louis van Gaal’s plans.
Brendan Rodgers, who needs to shut out the right-hand side to stop the probing runs of the Belgian, has a selection dilemma with both Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva available for the lone holding role.
But, van Gaal has no such concern with Michael Carrick (who thinks as a coach, according to the Dutchman) expected to fill in that position and impose his calm authority on the game.
The United defence, comprising Anton Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Daley Blind, has to be compact and work in tandem to keep the devastating duo — Sterling and Sturridge — at bay.
“A win helps – and it helps a lot. It helps to continue for United because after a victory you need another victory to confirm what you have done against Tottenham,” said van Gaal.
But, Rodgers’s Liverpool is not the sort of team that will oblige Wayne Rooney’s knock-out fetish.
|EPL||La Liga||SERIE A|
|QPR vs Everton STAR Sports 2, 9.30 p.m. ; Hull vs Chelsea STAR Sports 4 & HD4, 9.30 p.m.||Deportivo La Coruna vs Espanyol STAR Sports 2, 4.30 p.m. ; Villarreal vs Sevilla STAR Sports HD 2, 9.30 p.m.||Juventus vs Genoa STAR Sports 2, 7.30 p.m.|
Liverpool (54) vs Manchester United (56) ; STAR Sports 4 & HD4, 7 p.m.
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