Date: Sunday, 16 December
Time: 13:30 GMT
Derby of England
Liverpool and Manchester United—rivals, the two most successful clubs in English history, and two of the Big Four—will lock horns this Sunday when the Derby of England is played at Anfield, in one of the two tantalizing encounters on Super Slam Sunday.
Confidence will be soaring in the Reds camp after securing the all-important Champions League knockout qualification and producing a vintage performance, while the visitors will be fearful to say the least. Manchester United should expect a hostile atmosphere at Anfield as Liverpool aim for revenge after the corresponding fixture last season where the Reds lost 0-1 after being the better team for 91 minutes.
Gerrard vs. Ronaldo
Steven Gerrard is in superb form, scoring ten goals in his last 11 matches from midfield. On the other hand, the crowd will certainly get on Ronaldo’s back if he tries his diving antics at the Reds' fortress although the winger should be anonymous as Rafa’s tactical astuteness should neutralize any threat he might contain.
A match that should set the tone for the rest of the season, it is a six-pointer that could prove vital. Liverpool will be favorites considering their form and home record, though the match should be a lively encounter.
Alex Ferguson will have fresh options having rested his first team against Roma and should stick with his strongest side. Benitez will have to pick his strongest team while taking into account fatigue from midweek. His selection should be interesting with Xabi Alonso fit but maybe lacking match sharpness. Harry Kewell seems to be the man for big games and is a definite as well as Steven Gerrard and Torres while Peter Crouch may return to lineup depending on Rafa’s tactics. Babel, Benayoun, Mascherano, and Lucas are also available.
The Reds' high spirits combined with the Anfield faithful behind them and an intelligent team selection from Rafa should be enough to finish off United with a narrow 1-0 or 2-1 victory.
EPL form: D W W W L
Top scorer: Torres (6), Gerrard (6)
EPL form: D W L W W
Top scorer: Ronaldo (9)