Louis van Gaal will be looking for fellow Dutchman Robin van Persie to continue his return to form as the Manchester United manager experiences a United-Liverpool clash in the Premier League for the first time.
Few games arouse United fans’ passion more than the encounter with their bitter Merseyside rivals and van Persie – and United – approach it in a great frame of mind.
Van Persie scored both goals in United’s 2-1 win at Southampton, where they were fortunate to come away with three points.
A sure sign of a good side is to play poorly and still win, though, especially on the same weekend that leaders Chelsea surrendered their unbeaten Premier League run with a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.
Van Gaal was not afraid to splash the cash over the summer as he tried to make his mark following the disappointing tenure of David Moyes at Old Trafford.
Van Persie’s goals against Southampton were evidence that perhaps Van Gaal already has the striker to return United to the top of the table and does not need a new one in the January transfer window.
Liverpool, in contrast, are still in the doldrums as manager Brendan Rodgers struggles to get to grips with the thorny issue of what to do with veteran midfielder Steven Gerrard.
Rodgers has so far been unable to inspire a repeat of last season’s sensational but ultimately fruitless challenge for the Premier League title.
Chief amongst his problems has been a goalscorer to replace Luis Suarez, but the inconsistent form of Gerrard – and his future – have also been troublesome.
The trip back along the East Lancashire Road would be all the sweeter then if talisman Gerrard popped up to burst Van Gaal and Van Persie’s bubble.
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