Pepe Reina v David De Gea
The goalkeeper is always very important and each of these players will have a big role to play if his team is going to win. Reina has been under a lot of pressure so far this season as Liverpool have shipped eight goals in four Premier League games. Reina needs to command that defence. De Gea has actually been in very good form. He has been pulling off vital saves at vital times. He will be up against it for most of this match and if it’s more of the same, it gives United a chance of stealing a late winner.
Fabio Borini v Patrice Evra
If Evra does play and isn’t spared in place of Alexander Buttner then this could be a big key battle. Borini is hunting his first goal for Liverpool at the moment and he has all of the tricks in the book needed to make Evra’s life a nightmare. Evra has looked a little vulnerable at left back this season due to his clear lack of pace. Add this to the reception he is going to get every time he touches the ball at Anfield and he could be rattled. This is a chance for Borini to get in behind and get round to cause chaos and create chances.
Steven Gerrard v Michael Carrick
Gerrard always raises his game when Liverpool play United and it’s clear what beating the old enemy means to him. The Liverpool skipper is the play maker of the team and Carrick will need to get stuck in and maybe give away one or two fouls and risk a yellow card to make sure that Gerrard isn’t pulling the strings in the midfield areas. Carrick has been effective this season when he’s played more of an ugly role that allows others to get forward.
Joe Allen v Shinji Kagawa
This is a repeat of the Gerrard v Carrick battle with Kagawa the attacking player. Kagawa has looked immensely impressive since he joined United and he seems to be the exact sort of player that the side was missing last season. The Japanese star is always on the move and is always available for a pass. He has that quality needed to play a killer final bill in the final third. Allen has to stick to him like glue and put constant pressure on him to stop him from being effective.
Martin Skrtel v Robin Van Persie
Van Persie is going to be the key figure in the United attack for this game considering the injury to Wayne Rooney. Van Persie has been on fire since he joined United and he caused Liverpool all sorts of problems last season in an Arsenal shirt. Skrtel plays on the side of the Liverpool defence where Van Persie hovers. He needs to keep things tight, not step out and apply the pressure whenever the ball is fed into the Dutchman.