Although we have already been able to enjoy one fixture involving Manchester United and Liverpool, the Capital One Cup has now given us the ability to enjoy this fixture again! The match-up between the team that owned the English top tier league and the team that has since passed Liverpool, emotions always run high and every meeting of the two teams always results in some fireworks.
The two biggest news stories for this fixture are what strikers will be on the pitch for this match.
For United, manager David Moyes has revealed that Robin Van Persie will be unavailable to play against Liverpool. Although the injury to Van Persie does not seem like it will keep him out much longer (he may feature at the weekend), his absence will be sorely missed against Liverpool. Considering that it was RVP that had the best chances during the first fixture between these two, it will be interesting to see if trading RVP for Rooney changes much for the United attack. Rooney did score a beautiful free-kick against Manchester City, but his decisions in the final third still look a step slow.
For Liverpool, Luis Suarez will be returning from his ten match ban and will be available for Brendan Rodgers to select for the match. After the summer that Suarez put Liverpool through, the Uruguayan will be hoping that he can make an impact immediately after his return as to justify Liverpool’s faith and to keep other clubs interested in buying him once the next transfer window occurs. Considering how Liverpool have performed in their last two fixtures, they will be hoping that El Pistolero can get them back to the winning ways that they were experiencing at the beginning of the EPL season. Considering that Coutinho is now injured for a while, Suarez will definitely be an easier selection for the starting 11 than before Coutinho was injured.
Although the focus will be on the strikers, Liverpool and United are both dealing with big defensive issues. United’s central pairing of Vidic and Ferdinand have started to look old and the wide defenders have started looking susceptible to teams with strong attacking wingers. Considering the talent that Liverpool employs on the wing in their system, it will be interesting to see who Moyes puts in the back four and how they perform. Liverpool still seem unable to choose what players to field in the back. Knocks to Glen Johnson and some of the more experienced defensive choices saw Rodgers fielding typically four central defenders in their last fixture, preventing them from getting te same attacking pressure from their wing-backs. For me, it is not which strikers performs better, but which defense performs better that will decide this fixture.
The midfield of Liverpool currently has a slight edge as United seem like they are still trying to figure out life post-Scholes and life since Fellaini. No matter what happens there, it seems unlikely that either team will win big. Typically these two teams have very close scorelines, whether it be 1-0 or 4-3, so keep an eye out for this game to come down to the wire. Definitely make sure that you tune in and enjoy two English heavyweights slugging it out to continue in the competition. Who do you have winning? Red Devils or the Reds?