SUPER SUNDAY, AHOY!
Manchester United host Liverpool at Old Trafford in the first of two huge games this afternoon, so don’t go anywhere.
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Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
12.43 – And we’ve got the teams. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are the centre-back partnership with Jonny Evans injured, while Danny Welbeck gets the nod up front with Wayne Rooney out and Shinji Kagawa looking likely to begin on the right.
There’s no place for new signing Daniel Sturridge as Brendan Rodgers opts for Luis Suarez up front supported by Raheem Sterling, Stuarting Downing and Steve Gerrard, with Joe Allen and Lucas completing the midfield. 19-year-old Andre Wisdom, who signed a new contract this week, starts at full-back. Fabio Borini, meanwhile, returns to the bench after a lengthy lay-off.
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Welbeck, Young, Van Persie. Subs: Amos, Jones, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Smalling.
Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Lucas, Gerrard, Allen, Downing, Sterling, Suarez. Subs: Jones, Carragher, Henderson, Sturridge, Borini, Shelvey, Robinson.
It’s a good barometer for us today,” Brendan Rodgers has just told Sky Sports. “I’m very pleased and our form has been very good. I’m looking forward to it. They (Van Persie and Suarez are both wonderful players with different strengths. These games are about the team. If we work together we’ve got a good chance to get a result.”
13.36 – United have lined up with Shinji Kagawa on the left with Ashley Young switched over the right and Danny Welbeck in behind Van Persie. The visitors are pressing high up the field at this early stage with Allen putting the opposing defence under pressure.
Patrice Evra gets an opportunity to cross but sends it right into the hands of Pepe Reina.
13.39 – Kagawa tests Wisdom for the first time but the 19-year-old is up to it and puts the ball behind for a corner. Young with the delivery and after it’s half-cleared, Webb awards Liverpool a free-kick for a push on Raheem Sterling.
13.48 – Van Persie picks up possession in the Liverpool box and looks to get a strike off but is snuffed out. Very tight affair so far.
14.02 – Young crashes into Agger and comes off worse. United continue to attack but with their team-mate staying down, decide to put the ball out of play. Camera cuts to Antonio Valencia warming up on the sideline. We may see him sooner than expected.
14.05 – Young is back on the field and should be alright to resume. The next Liverpool midfielder to feed a striker from the other team is Allen, with Welbeck receiving the wayward pass. He cuts inside to have a pop and Aggers gets his body behind it to make the challenge.
Welbeck finds himself in another great position but blazes over with his left foot.
14.19 – How did that not go in? Rafael gets in behind Johnson and latches onto a super pass by Carrick. He cuts the ball to Van Persie, whose first instinct is to flick it goalward. It’s cleared off the line, however, and Reina does ever so well to keep Kagawa out from close range. The goalkeeper appears to be hurt after a collision with the Japanese international and receives attention from the medical staff.
14.33 – There’s only been one side in this one in the first 45 minutes with United looking comfortable at the back and dominating midfield. Liverpool’s system is just not working at the moment and Rodgers may look to shake it up by introducing either Sturridge or Borini to help out Suarez, who has cut an isolated figure.
14.37 – Change for United – Valencia is on for Young, who may not have recovered from that clash with Agger. And here comes Daniel Sturridge. The former Man City and Chelsea striker has been introduced for Lucas.
Second half about to begin.
14.41 – Free-kick for United just short of 30 after Allen brings down Kagawa. Van Persie takes… but gets his angles all wrong and watches it go high and wide.
14.45 – Liverpol break through Suarez and he threads a ball wide to Wisdom whos is marauding down the wing. With both Sturridge and Suarez inside, he goes it alone and loses his footing before slicing wide.
15.10 – Things to report during a busy few minutes:
- Liverpool shot – Sturridge feeds Borini, who flicks the ball with his first touch and catches it on the volley. De Gea has a look but it’s a couple of yards outside the post.
- Yellow card for Evra – For sticking out his leg as Downing goes by. On the replay, however, it looks like he’s dived as there was no contact.
- Vidic heads the free-kick behind but Webb hasn’t got a good look at it and awards a United goal kick.
- Another player into the book – Johnson takes down Evra, who has set off on a run.
- Phil Jones has come on for Kagawa and will sit in the middle with Welbeck moved to the left
- Nemanja Vidic is off and Chris Smalling takes his place
15.38 – Just like it ended in September, United prevail as 2-1 winners. They were well on top in the first half but struggled to weather the storm at 2-0, however, and allowed Liverpool back into the game in the final 20 minutes. United extend their lead at the top to 10 points over City, who play Arsenal at 4, while Liverpool remain in eighth place.
That’s me signing off but make sure to check in with Fenno, who is about to start liveblogging today’s second Premier League game. Cheers as always for joining us and sharing your thoughts in the comments section.