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An aerial view of the Old Trafford pitch during a game, taken from the corner of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand

Match preview: United v Liverpool at Old Trafford

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Manchester United welcome fierce rivals Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams this weekend for what is always an eagerly anticipated encounter. Here's everything you need to know...

Setting the scene… United begin a huge week at Old Trafford on Saturday with a lunchtime showdown against Liverpool, in what is always one of the biggest games of any season. With crucial home matches against Sevilla and Brighton to follow, Jose Mourinho's men will be looking to build on the momentum gained from back-to-back comeback wins over Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the last two Premier League matches. It's a significant match in the battle for second place and United would widen the gap over the Merseysiders to five points with a victory, as well as extending our unbeaten run against the Anfield club in the top flight to eight matches.

How can I watch it? Saturday's big match kicks off at 12:30 GMT and will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. MUTV subscribers on Sky or Virgin Media, the MUTV app, or online at MUTV.com can enjoy match build-up from 10:30 GMT on the Match Day show and listen to radio commentary of the game before watching it in full on Sunday at 18:00 GMT. You can also keep up with all the action as it happens via ManUtd.com's live match blog and our official Twitter account @ManUtd. 

Goals: Crystal Palace 2 United 3Video

What's the team news? United were without seven players for Monday's thrilling comeback victory over Crystal Palace. Anthony Martial, who marked his United debut with a memorable goal in our last victory over Liverpool in September 2015, missed the trip to Selhurst Park through injury, while Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been missing for varying periods of time. The boss could give a further update on his squad in Friday's pre-match press conference. For Liverpool, Nathaniel Clyne is edging towards fitness but unlikely to feature, while Georginio Wijnaldum is struggling with illness and captain Jordan Henderson is also doubtful due to an ongoing leg issue.
Anthony Martial arriving for a game at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial was among the absentees for United against Crystal Palace on Monday night

How are Liverpool doing? After a relatively slow start to the season, Jurgen Klopp's men have put together a fine run of form to climb up to third in the table. The Merseysiders are unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches since a surprise 1-0 defeat at Swansea City at the end of January. They have only lost three games in the league this season and have scored more goals away from home (34) than any other club.

How have we fared against Liverpool in the past? Saturday's clash will be the 200th meeting between the sides in all competitions - and 52nd in the Premier League era - in what has been a fierce and passionate rivalry stretching over 124 years. United have won 79 of the previous 199 encounters, while Liverpool have won 65 and there have been 55 draws. The last four meetings have ended in draws and United have not been beaten by the Merseysiders in the league since March 2014.

Did you know? After scoring his 99th Premier League goal in the comeback triumph at Crystal Palace, Romelu Lukaku could bring up his century against Liverpool on Saturday. The Belgian striker, who is United's top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions this season, has previously netted five times against the Merseysiders in his career - three in Merseyside derbies with Everton and twice while on loan at West Bromwich Albion from Chelsea.


Romelu Lukaku in action against Liverpool at Anfield in October.
Romelu Lukaku will be looking to score his first goal against Liverpool in a United shirt on Saturday

What happened earlier in the season? United made the trip to Anfield in the reverse fixture in mid-October and came away with a hard-earned point as the two rivals played out a goalless draw, which extended our unbeaten start to 2017/18 in the Premier League. 

What's Jose Mourinho's record like against Liverpool? Since taking charge at Old Trafford, the boss has drawn all three of his matches against the Merseysiders, so he will be keen to record his first victory over them as United manager on Saturday. In total, Jose has faced the Anfield club 26 times during his career in all competitions and boasts an impressive record of 11 wins, nine draws and just six defeats.

One to watch: When Philippe Coutinho left for Barcelona in January, doubts were raised as to how Liverpool would function without their wellspring of Brazilian flair and creativity. But, the man they call 'the Pharaoh' has enjoyed a memorable debut season so far. Mohamed Salah has scored 33 goals, including six in his last five league matches, and registered 11 assists in all competitions this season. In the Premier League, the Egyptian has been particularly impressive and tops the goalscoring charts, having netted a goal every 92 minutes on average. The United defence kept the African Player of the Year quiet at Anfield earlier this season and know it will be another tough task to stop him scoring again.

Mohamed Salah in action for Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah has scored in each of his last five Premier League games for Liverpool

What do you think the result will be? Get involved and make your prediction with the Manchester United Score Predictor and win amazing prizes throughout the season with Marathonbet.

Who’s the referee? Craig Pawson will referee his fifth United match this season, after taking charge of our matches both home and away against Southampton and Newcastle United respectively. The Fifa whistler from Sheffield has also overseen three Liverpool matches this campaign, with the most recent being their 1-1 draw against Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield in December. Pawson, who will handle a United game against Liverpool for the first time, will be assisted by Gary Beswick and Peter Kirkup, with Martin Atkinson acting as the fourth official.

Referee Craig Pawson.
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The Premier League has confirmed Craig Pawson will referee Saturday's high-profile match between United and Liverpool.

Rivals watch… Saturday's crucial encounter at the Theatre of Dreams kickstarts another packed Premier League programme this weekend across three days. Here's the full fixture list...

Saturday 10 March (15:00 GMT unless stated)
Manchester United v Liverpool (12:30 GMT)
Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion
Huddersfield Town v Swansea City
Newcastle United v Southampton
West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City
West Ham United v Burnley
Chelsea v Crystal Palace (17:30 GMT)

Sunday 11 March
Arsenal v Watford (13:30 GMT)
Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur (16:00 GMT)

Monday 12 March
Stoke City v Manchester City (20:00 GMT)