Team news: Liverpool v Man United – Lucas, Coutinho and Di Maria

Liverpool and Manchester United go head-to-head at Anfield in a game that could go a long way to determining which side secures a Champions League place.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are in fantastic form of late, winning their last five Premier League games including important victories over Tottenham, Southampton and Manchester City.

In fact the last time the Merseysiders suffered a league defeat was back in December at Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal’s side triumphed 3-0 that day to move 10 points clear of their great rivals. Liverpool’s recent form has seen that gap cut to just two points but United themselves look to have found form at just the right time.

Last weekend’s 3-0 win over Tottenham was widely acknowledged to be their best performance of the season and sets up the tantalising prospect of two of English football’s giants going toe-to-toe at the top of their game.

Team news
Midfielder Lucas Leiva’s fitness will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game.

The Brazil international returned to training this week after a groin problem sustained six weeks ago but may not be ready to go straight into the squad.

Striker Mario Balotelli has recovered from the bout of illness which saw him miss Monday’s win at Swansea.

Angel Di Maria is available again for Manchester United after serving a one-match suspension, but Jonny Evans is still banned for the spitting incident with Papiss Cisse earlier this month.

Van Gaal says Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo are not fit to start for the visitors, but the Red Devils boss may include them on the bench.

Fast facts
If Liverpool avoid defeat in this game they will match the longest unbeaten run of the season seen in the Premier League this season (14 games, recorded by Chelsea).

The Red Devils have lost just one of their last nine Premier League away matches (W4 D4 L1).

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions at Anfield (W7 D7).

Daniel Sturridge has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances for Liverpool against Man Utd.

Manchester United have won away at Anfield more times than any other team in Premier League history (10).

Only Liverpool v Everton (20) has seen more red cards in Premier League history than Liverpool v Manchester United (15) (including a record by one player in a single fixture – Nemanja Vidic with four).

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