Team news: Liverpool v Man United – Lucas, Coutinho and Di Maria

first_imgLiverpool and Manchester United go head-to-head at Anfield in a game that could go a long way to determining which side secures a Champions League place.Brendan Rodgers’ side are in fantastic form of late, winning their last five Premier League games including important victories over Tottenham, Southampton and Manchester City.In fact the last time the Merseysiders suffered a league defeat was back in December at Old Trafford.Louis van Gaal’s side triumphed 3-0 that day to move 10 points clear of their great rivals. Liverpool’s recent form has seen that gap cut to just two points but United themselves look to have found form at just the right time.Last weekend’s 3-0 win over Tottenham was widely acknowledged to be their best performance of the season and sets up the tantalising prospect of two of English football’s giants going toe-to-toe at the top of their game.Team news Midfielder Lucas Leiva’s fitness will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game.The Brazil international returned to training this week after a groin problem sustained six weeks ago but may not be ready to go straight into the squad.Striker Mario Balotelli has recovered from the bout of illness which saw him miss Monday’s win at Swansea.Angel Di Maria is available again for Manchester United after serving a one-match suspension, but Jonny Evans is still banned for the spitting incident with Papiss Cisse earlier this month.Van Gaal says Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo are not fit to start for the visitors, but the Red Devils boss may include them on the bench. Fast factsIf Liverpool avoid defeat in this game they will match the longest unbeaten run of the season seen in the Premier League this season (14 games, recorded by Chelsea).The Red Devils have lost just one of their last nine Premier League away matches (W4 D4 L1).Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions at Anfield (W7 D7).Daniel Sturridge has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances for Liverpool against Man Utd.Manchester United have won away at Anfield more times than any other team in Premier League history (10). Only Liverpool v Everton (20) has seen more red cards in Premier League history than Liverpool v Manchester United (15) (including a record by one player in a single fixture – Nemanja Vidic with four).Manager quotesBrendan Rodgers: “It’s simple. It’s been unfair on the boy (Gerrard). This is a guy who has been, and still is, a wonderful player. But when he was out injured, we had people trying to sensationalise the story. People were trying to write him off when he was injured. He’s back now, and it’s maybe not the story you want, but he’s totally committed. He’s a fan of this club, and his support for guys like (Jordan) Henderson, (Joe) Allen, has been fantastic.”Louis van Gaal: “I think we played very good in the first half [against Tottenham], it was also good to have an evolution that is very positive. (But) it says nothing when you lose the next match. Liverpool is not a ground where Manchester United have won a lot. When we have won at Liverpool, that will have shown we have improved further… I want to win against them again. It’s very important. I think every player knows the importance of this game. We are in a very crucial stage and cannot lose.”MATCH FACTS Steven Gerrard has scored seven goals in his last 11 Premier League games against Manchester United.If Liverpool avoid defeat in this game they will match the longest unbeaten run of the season seen in the Premier League this season (14 games, recorded by Chelsea).The Red Devils have lost just one of their last nine Premier League away matches (W4 D4 L1). Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions at Anfield (W7 D7).Daniel Sturridge has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances for Liverpool against Man Utd.Manchester United have won away at Anfield more times than any other team in Premier League history (10). Only Liverpool v Everton (20) has seen more red cards in Premier League history than Liverpool v Manchester United (15) (including a record by one player in a single fixture – Nemanja Vidic with four).Man United have taken 2.2 points per game when Michael Carrick has featured this season (15 games) compared to 1.6 without him.Ander Herrera has found the net with all three of his shots on target for Manchester United in the Premier League.Wayne Rooney has scored or assisted 250 goals for Manchester United in the Premier League (169 goals, 81 assists).–last_img