LONDON (AFP) – Manchester United will relish the opportunity to inflict more pain on wounded foes Liverpool when the teams renew their heated rivalry at Old Trafford in the Premier League this weekend.
Liverpool won both league fixtures against United last season, triumphing 3-0 on their last visit to Sir Matt Busby Way in March, en-route to finishing 20 points clear of their cross-county rivals in the final standings.
But the tables have since turned and while United go into the weekend in pursuit of a sixth consecutive victory – a run that has lifted Louis van Gaal’s side to third place – Liverpool’s confidence is at a low.
Having made a dismal start to their league campaign, Liverpool’s season nose-dived further on Tuesday when they were eliminated from the Champions League in the group phase following a 1-1 draw at home to Basel.
Memories of last season’s thrilling title bid are fading fast at Anfield, but midfielder Joe Allen says his side will draw encouragement from their last performance at Old Trafford when they make their return on Sunday.
“We had a fantastic result there last season, so we’ll be looking to draw some confidence and inspiration from that performance and we’ll go there and try to get the win,” the Wales international told the Liverpool website.
“They are great games to play in between two clubs who are massive globally and there’s a great rivalry between the clubs. These matches are great to be a part of.
“Last season it was a great feeling to go to Old Trafford and get the three points and all of the players want that feeling again.”
Liverpool remain without injured striker Daniel Sturridge, while Mario Balotelli has not played for over a month, but United have injury problems as well.
Chris Smalling sustained a groin injury during United’s 2-1 win at Southampton on Monday, joining Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Angel di Maria and Daley Blind on the sidelines.
While Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League in mid-week, Manchester City secured their place in the last 16 with a superb 2-0 victory away to Serie A title contenders Roma.
It followed a run of four straight league wins that has seen the champions whittle leaders Chelsea’s advantage down to just three points ahead of Saturday’s trip to bottom club Leicester City.
City will learn the identity of their next Champions League opponents on Monday, but goalkeeper Joe Hart has urged his team-mates not to lose focus in their quest to topple Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.