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Everything that you need to know ahead of the Red Devils' high-profile Premier League encounter with rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday

With nine consecutive victories under their belts across four different competitions, Manchester United could barely be in better shape as they prepare for the visit of their arch-nemeses from Liverpool.

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Jose Mourinho's side welcome Jurgen Klopp and his men to Old Trafford looking a completely different outfit to the one which threw up the barricades at Anfield back in October. On that night, Mourinho sent out a defensive line-up with the aim to destroy Liverpool's flow and try to pinch a goal on the break. But on Sunday he is likely to adopt a very different approach as United look for a 10th straight win for the first time in eight years.

Tuesday's occasionally frustrating - but ultimately dominant - 2-0 win over Hull City in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg sent United one step closer to Wembley. But while Mourinho insists that all competitions have equal importance, their No.1 priority has to be closing the gap on the Champions League spots still further and a victory over Liverpool would be the biggest sign yet that United are back among the big boys in the Premier League after a mediocre spell since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.


MAN UTD INJURIES


Mourinho might not be able to repeat his boast of a week ago in reporting of "zero injuries" among his squad but the situation is still looking relatively rosy in the Carrington treatment room.

Marcos Rojo could still be unavailable after suffering a muscle injury in the 4-0 FA Cup third-round win against Reading on Saturday, with Mourinho admitting that, while the knock was not a serious one, it remains one which cannot be entirely second-guessed. If the Argentine can complete at least one training session before Sunday's game, then he could make the bench at the very least.

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Higher up, Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be fine to return after missing Tuesday's victory over Hull City due to illness. Assuming that he recovers from colds quicker than Her Majesty The Queen, the Swede is a certainty to start as the figurehead striker in Mourinho's line-up.

Eric Bailly is United's only other unavailable player due to his involvement in Cote d'Ivoire's Africa Cup of Nations campaign.


MAN UTD SUSPENSIONS


With the season's first amnesty on yellow cards having passed at the turn of the year, only Watford's Jose Holebas in the entire Premier League is even close to picking up a suspension.

As such United are free from such worries, with Paul Pogba - who has collected more yellows than any other United player this season (seven) - still three cards away from being banned.


MAN UTD POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


Mourinho is set to revert back to his preferred setup after mixing and matching in the cup wins against Reading and Hull City. He might never have found a settled first XI since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer but he can at least rely on a core of 15 or 16 from which to choose his favoured XI.

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With Ibrahimovic set to return, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could well find themselves being asked to used their pace and trickery up against a suspect Liverpool defence. And with the extra protection of both Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick likely to be required at the heart of midfield, Paul Pogba could well be used just behind Ibrahimovic once more.

At the back, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should start as a result of Rojo's recent enforced lay-off. Antonio Valencia will continue at right-back, with the left-back spot up for grabs between Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw. The Dutchman could be given the nod thanks to his greater reading of the game against a flamboyant Liverpool forward line, with Shaw being used sparingly to ease him back into action after his latest injury.


LIVERPOOL DOSSIER


Liverpool have the best attack in the division but their usual fluid, fast football has dwindled over the past few weeks. The absence of Sadio Mane to AFCON duty robs them of the ability to get behind at pace, while Jordan Henderson's heel injury has seen them surrender their fundamental of controlling games. They will, however, be boosted by the return of Philippe Coutinho, who should start at Old Trafford after returning from ankle ligament damage in Wednesday's EFL Cup defeat by Southampton.

That 1-0 reverse, added to the 0-0 FA Cup draw with Plymouth Argyle and a frustrating 2-2 result against Sunderland in the Premier League, means that Jurgen Klopp's men are still searching for their first win of 2017.

They remain in second place in the league table, though, but defeat at Old Trafford would see their superiority over United reduced to just two points.


BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS


  • This will be the 50th Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Liverpool – United have won 27 of the previous 49 (D9 L13).

  • Liverpool have lost 11 of their last 14 visits to Old Trafford in the Premier League, winning the other three.

  • This clash has seen 16 red cards shown in the Premier League - only Everton vs Liverpool (21) has produced more dismissals.

  • Manchester United had just 35 per cent possession vs Liverpool at Anfield in October, their lowest total in a Premier League match since Opta began recording this data in 2003-04.

  • Jurgen Klopp has lost just one of his six meetings with Jose Mourinho (W3 D2 L1), with that defeat coming in 2013 via a 2-0 away loss for Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg.


TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME


The game gets under way at 4:00pm UK time on Sunday, with national TV coverage provided on Sky Sports 1. The referee will be Michael Oliver, who last took charge of United in the 1-1 draw at Everton which preceded their current nine-game winning streak.

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