Liverpool vs. Manchester United: Top Storylines for EPL Showdown

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2013

Will Wayne Rooney be fit for Sunday's match against Liverpool?
Will Wayne Rooney be fit for Sunday's match against Liverpool?Alex Livesey/Getty Images

No matter when they meet, Liverpool versus Manchester United is always a matchup worth watching.

In the infant stages of the English Premier League season, each squad is looking to maintain their undefeated record while blemishing their rival's mark. Will one club manage to cause the other to gain a "1" in the loss column?

Sunday's bout will mark the 160th time these two historic clubs meet in league play. Manchester United leads the series 74-62 with 51 draws, winning their past three contests.

These two clubs will meet again in the Capital One Cup, but here's what important to look out for during their Premier League fixture.

When: Sunday, September 1, 8:30 a.m. ET (1:30 BST)

Where: Anfield, Liverpool

Watch: NBC Sports Network

Live StreamNBC Sports Live Extra

Betting Odds (via Pinnacle Sports):

2.54 Liverpool

3.05 Manchester United

3.35 Draw

Top Storylines:

Will Wayne Rooney Play?

Just as Wayne Rooney was able to put all the transfer talks behind him, the 27-year-old star suffered a head injury in practice that makes him a question mark for Sunday. The Goal UK's Twitter account has the scoop.

The forward, who scored 12 goals in 22 appearances last season, has recorded two assists so far in Manchester United's first two matches. Losing him would obviously be a tough pill for the Red Devils to swallow.

If Rooney cannot suit up, the burden falls on Robin Van Persie, the 30-year-old forward who has already two goals in as many games. The veteran will have to become the focal point of Manchester's attack without Rooney, which is a task the forward can handle.

Both sides have already suffered enough injuries, so it'd be a shame if one more major ailment knocked Rooney out of action.

How Will Liverpool's Fresh Faces Perform?

Liverpool made some moves two days before the transfer window closed, securing defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Illori, according to's Wayne Veysey.

Scarred by injuries, Brendan Rodgers needed some reinforcements for his defense, and the two young center backs are poised to help out.

Both youngsters flew in for physicals, and Indykaila News reported that they both passed and are cleared to compete.

So how soon are they tossed in the fire? Can Sakho, 23, and Ilori, 20, be expected to adapt immediately, or will it take some time to wet their feet into heightened EPL play?

Kolo Toure and Aly Cissoko, both newly signed assets, are both unavailable for the Reds. They can use all the help they can get, so we could witness the beginning of an era if the young guns get a shot to take off.

Luis Suarez will return in time for their rematch later in September, but the biter will remain sidelined for Sunday's affair. Daniel Sturridge has held the fort down well in Suarez's absence, and the striker might need to strike again to propel Liverpool to victory.

Prediction: Both squads will later get healthier and more experience playing with each other, which could make the Capital One Cup bout the true test. For these, expect these evenly-matched titans to duke out a 1-1 draw.