Sat, Mar 5, 7:52am by Kevin Pitstock
There’s very little love lost when Liverpool and Manchester United meet at any time, and under any circumstances and there’s absolutely no reason for anything to be different here. This is a good test of what progress Liverpool may not have made under Kenny Dalglish, while it’s an awkward fixture for United, who might well be a just a point ahead at the top of the table by the time they kick off. They are also looking a little light on numbers, especially in defence in a game that could have a real impact on the title race. Liverpool would enjoy little more than shoving a spoke in the wheels of their rivals.
The main question for Liverpool is whether or not to throw Andy Carroll in for his debut. The £35mn striker is finally back training after the hip injury that has kept him out for all of 2011. Right back Martin Kelly will be missing but free scoring midfielder Raul Meireles ought to be ok to play. Liverpool’s defeat by West Ham seems to have been quietly forgotten – it was their first in nine matches, but it must be a slight concern to have lost deservedly to a side who have been down at the foot of the table all season. In recent seasons Liverpool have performed well in this fixture – they have won the last two encounters between the sides at Anfield. With a win at Chelsea they have shown they can still give the perceived top four sides a difficult match.
MANCHESTER UNITED PREVIEW
Manchester United’s main concern is with their back line, especially after the defeat at Chelsea saw Nemanja Vidic given a red-card. It means he has to sit this game out, and Wes Brown and Chris Smalling will be the central defensive partnership – one that does not look the most certain. After so many draws away from home, a couple of defeats have now crept in at Wolves and Chelsea. Overall though, they have 5 victories in 7 games. Dimitar Berbatov got a hat-trick in the reverse fixture, but it was unexpectedly hard work, and that not first choice defence is a cause for concern.
LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER UNITED BEST BET AND PREDICTION
Lots of passion is guaranteed, but United can come away with a 1-1 draw here. As slight favourites, they don’t look value, so get on the draw with Sportsbet Australia at $3.25.
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