Liverpool v Man Utd
Venue: Anfield Date: Saturday, 13 September Kick-off: 1245 BST Coverage:BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Five Live, highlights on Match of the Day and live on Sky Sports 1
Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have both been declared fit to face Manchester United.
Gerrard missed England’s 4-1 win in Croatia on Wednesday after undergoing a minor groin operation, while Torres has recovered from a hamstring tear.
Both players are included in Rafael Benitez’s squad after coming through a light training session on Friday.
“They are both much better,” said Benitez. “They came through a full training session this morning.”
He added: “It’s important for us to have these two players of quality who can change a game.
“I’m not surprised they are available because the medical staff have done a good job and the players have been working really hard with the physios to get fit.”
Albert Riera is in line to make his Liverpool bow after signing from Espanyol on transfer deadline day, while Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva misses out after returning late from international duty.
Man Utd team news to follow later.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Agger, Dossena, Benayoun, Babel, Riera, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Plessis, Kuyt, Keane, Torres, Ngog, Cavalieri, El Zhar.
Liverpool can go three points clear at the top of the table for two hours at least, if they can record a 10th successive home league win, at the expense of champions Manchester United.
The Red Devils were the only club to leave Anfield with all three points last season.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who’s eager to match Liverpool’s 18 league titles this season by winning a third consecutive Premier League crown, holds an unbeaten league record against his opposite number Rafa Benitez of seven wins and one draw. Benitez’ only success was Liverpool’s fifth round victory in the FA Cup in February 2006.
Both these clubs have lost just two Premier League matches in 2008, and will be looking for a morale boosted performance ahead of their first Champions League group matches next week.
Liverpool are vying for a 50th victory from their 151st league meeting with Manchester United.
The Red Devils are chasing a sixth successive Premier League victory over Liverpool, and third in a row at Anfield.
Liverpool have suffered more Premier League defeats (18), dropped more points (68) and conceded more goals (48) to Manchester United than to any other club.
Distance between the clubs: 33 miles (54 kilometres)
Manchester United are making the shortest journey of all Premier League clubs this weekend.
2nd 7 points
Highest achievable after Saturday’s matches: 1st
1. Lost one of the last 16 games (all competitions); that defeat being 3-2, away to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final second leg on 30 April.
2. Unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches; won seven and drawn three since losing 3-0, away to Manchester United on 23 March – their only reverse in 18 Premier League fixtures.
3. Undefeated in 12 home Premier League matches; won 10 and drawn two since succumbing to the Red Devils nine months ago – their only defeat in 24 at Anfield.
4. Kept clean sheets in six of the last seven league and cup games (four of five in the Premier League); the exception being the 2-1 home victory over Middlesbrough on 23 August.
5. Five goals shy of becoming the third club to score 1,000 Premier League goals; United have 1,222 and Arsenal 1,052.
6. Had 10 points after their first four games last season.
7. Gone in at half-time with the score goalless in all three of their league games to date. All three of their league goals have been scored in the last seven minutes.
8. Not beaten a fellow ‘Big Four’ club in six attempts since the 4-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield on 31 March 2007.
9. Lost just one of the last seven league games against North-West clubs (v Man U) and won the last three.
9th 4 points
1. Coming off the 2-1 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the European Super Cup on 29 August.
2. Only played two Premier League fixtures; the most recent being a 0-1 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 25 August.
3. One defeat in eight (all competitions).
4. Won 10 and lost one of their last 14 Premier League outings.
5. Picked up 10 points from a last possible 12 since losing 2-1, away to Chelsea on 26 April 2008.
6. That defeat to the Blues was their first in the last eight against ‘Big Four’ clubs.
7. Completed 39 league matches without a goalless draw – the longest current such sequence in the Premier League.
8. On the longest current run in the highest league of 26 matches, since failing to score.
9. Lost one of the last seven league matches against fellow North-West clubs; the 1-2 home loss to local rivals Manchester City on 10 February 2008.
Steven GERRARD is a hat-trick shy of 100 club career goals – all in Liverpool colours.
If on the field from the outset:-
Jamie CARRAGHER will be making his 350th Premier League start – all for the Reds.
Sami HYYPIA will be making his 300th career Premier League start – all in a Liverpool shirt.
If on the field from the outset:-
Edwin VAN DER SAR will be making his 300th start for an English club (Fulham and Manchester United).
Gary NEVILLE will be making his 350th Premier League start for Manchester United.
John O’SHEA will be making his 150th English league start (Manchester United and Bournemouth).
The Merseysiders have only won 25% of their home matches against Manchester United in the Premier League (four of 16).
The champions did the double over Liverpool for the fifth time in the Premier League last season, and the third time in four seasons.
United have not lost in six consecutive league visits to Anfield, since Liverpool’s 3-1 triumph on 4 November 2001; Michael Owen scored a brace and John Arne Riise also netted in that match seven years ago.
The only point in 24 Liverpool have notched against United came from a goalless draw at Anfield on 18 September 2005.
Since the start of the 2002-03 season, Liverpool have played 115 home Premier League matches and lost just 13 of them – five to Manchester United. The Red Devils have a better record at Anfield than any other Premier League club.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Liverpool 49 wins, Man Utd 58, Draws 43
Prem: Liverpool 7 wins, Man Utd 18, Draws 7
at Liverpool only
League (inc PL): Liverpool 35 wins, Man Utd 22, Draws 18
Prem: Liverpool 4 wins, Man Utd 9, Draws 3
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
16 December 2007 – Ref: Mark Halsey
Man Utd scorer: Tevez 43
Howard Webb (Yorkshire)