Manchester United vs. Liverpool: Players Who Will Help Reds Earn Victory

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2013

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez will help decide the North West derby
Liverpool forward Luis Suarez will help decide the North West derbyLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Liverpool will need a great performance in order to get a result in Old Trafford against Manchester United on Sunday.

Luis Suarez is going to be the determining factor for the Reds in the North West derby. If he struggles up top, Liverpool is going to find goals hard to come by.

Conversely, if he wreaks havoc upon the United back four, it could be a rout, much like when Dirk Kuyt notched a hat trick in Liverpool's 3-1 win in March, 2011.

The problem is, everybody knows how important Suarez is, so the United defense will be doing everything in its power to neutralize the Uruguayan.

These three players will all have a role should Liverpool pick up three big points against the Red Devils.

Lucas Leiva

Even with Suarez on the form of his life, there may be no more important player on Liverpool than Lucas Leiva. The Reds' form took a major nosedive from which they never recovered when the Brazilian midfielder went down last year.

He's back on the pitch, but he still looks far from being fully fit. You watch Lucas run and can see that he's not hitting his top speed.

Even without being 100 percent, Lucas remains one of the most pivotal players on the pitch for Liverpool. The Reds need to control the midfield. In order for that to happen, Lucas needs to be the ball-winner who can help start the attack.

He can also help to provide cover should Glen Johnson or Andre Wisdom get caught out of position trying to get forward.

Glen Johnson

When thinking about the better full-backs in the Premier League, Johnson deserves to be mentioned. Since arriving from Portsmouth in the summer of 2009, he's become one of the club's more reliable players.

With Jose Enrique out with an injury, Johnson will get the start at left-back.

The English defender will need to ensure that Antonio Valencia doesn't find himself with plenty of space. Valencia's speed and crossing ability make him a threat every time he touches the ball.

Johnson can also attract some attention away from the defenders keying on Raheem Sterling, giving the youngster more room to create and attack.

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge started his Liverpool career off with a bang by scoring against Mansfield Town in the F.A. Cup tie last week.

It's doubtful he'll get the start this week, as Brendan Rodgers is still trying to get him to match fitness. With as little as the striker played at Chelsea, he can't immediately be asked to play 70-80 minutes in a match like the North West derby.

Sturridge will be named on the subs bench, though, so he has the opportunity to impact the game late.

For a while now, Liverpool wasn't afforded the chance to bring on a forward late in the game to try to nab a goal. With Sturridge, the Reds have that option.

His speed can be a nice asset late in the game when United defenders will be tiring out.