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Old foes do battle for a new crown

Manchester-United-v-Burnley (1)Screaming, covered in non-descript fluids and struggling to adjust to the light. Manchester United appeared reborn last weekend.

Reborn in the sense that it felt like watching Manchester United, not like being forced to watch Adrien Chiles’ care worker scrub his back in the bath whilst he plays with his manhood.

Not even the vast Dutchman stood on the touchline who is looking more and more like a loaf of bread with each passing day could have predicted the performance against Spurs.

Speed, intent and creativity, words that would most likely be seen to describe Jonjo Shelvey’s upcoming murder spree-definitely not a United performance.

But here we are a week later, two points off second and looking like we deserve to be there. Not like Alan Shearer on Match of the Day who is clearly there because he’ll work for free and was the only one who could teach Martin Keown sign language so that he could finally communicate with his keepers.

Sunday brings about the biggest game in English football. Mark Ogden in his ever insightful comments on football described this weekend’s game as two bald men fighting over a comb.

What Ogden fails to see is that both Manchester United and Liverpool are making resurgences. Manchester City become less convincing with each passing day, whereas two old rivals now appear growing in stature.

So maybe these men are old and balding, but their desire to adapt and grow with the changing world is getting greater by each day. In a week of European disappointments tomorrow’s fixture is one of the most important games of the season, not just for the sides involved but for the future of English football.

Manchester United team news

Louis Van Gaal indicated that Robin Van Persie is getting closer to making his return with some light running training, but won’t be anywhere near the first team just yet.

Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw both will be on the bench for tomorrow’s game and are likely to be back in the first team next week when Smalling, Jones or both end up injured.

Angel Di Maria will be back from suspension and it will be interesting to see how he fits in the side, if he does at all.

Liverpool team news

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is back in training after five weeks out with a groin injury but may not be ready to feature against United.
Striker Mario Balotelli has recovered from the illness that saw him miss his side’s win over Swansea on Monday.

Key men

Tomorrow is all about leaders. One player that he been dragging United through and incredibly tough period has been the captain Wayne Rooney.

From his energy and movement on the pitch to his brilliant goal celebration last weekend the reformed England striker has been giving United a lift that he been much needed of recent weeks.

Clearly in the best shape of his life Rooney has been relishing being moved back up front and out of midfield. United will need him to be on absolutely top form both as a captain and as a striker for tomorrow’s trip to Anfield.

Once an unsung hero but no longer, Michael Carrick showed how important he is for United’s midfield last weekend against Spurs.

The English midfielder showed class and vision all game, topping a fantastic performance off with an excellent header.

His contract renewal has been wonderful news for fans this week and his role on Sunday will be to keep United dominating in the middle of the park.

Predicted starting XI


William Dawson