Smalling: United confidence could not be higher for Liverpool

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The Red Devils defender is aiming to continue their winning run when their arch-rivals visit Old Trafford at the weekend

Chris Smalling says Manchester United's confidence could not be any higher ahead of their crucial match with Liverpool on Sunday.

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The two teams meet at Old Trafford with United on fine form, with the 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull City on Tuesday their ninth consecutive victory across all competitions.

Liverpool are in the other semi-final against Southampton and play their first leg at St Mary's Stadium on Wednesday prior to meeting in-form United, with Smalling optimistic about blunting their rivals' attack.

"Before facing Reading on Saturday we knew that we had three games in three different competitions," Smalling told MUTV.

"We knew that if we could keep the winning run going then we couldn't have more confidence going into one of the biggest games of the season. 

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"Everyone is really up for it and now we can switch our attention to that game. I think we will recover on Wednesday, then we have a good few days to work on the tactics on how to nullify their threats and to really impact our own play to keep this run going. 

"We know how important this game is at the top end of that table."

Sixth-placed United are five points adrift of Liverpool in second and have been boosted by the return of Smalling after he missed two months of action with a broken toe late in 2016.

The England defender has now played in four consecutive matches going into the Liverpool clash.

"I'm feeling very good," said Smalling.

"It was frustrating earlier this season, but I feel fit now and we have that many games it is a good time to be back and hopefully I can play my part and keep playing."

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