15 December 2007

LFC v Man.U

Liverpool make their seventh attempt to notch a 50th league victory over Manchester United.
A draw would be enough to see Manchester United climb above Arsenal to the top of the table, ahead of the Gunners' home game with Chelsea which kicks off less than 45 minutes after the final whistle of this game is blown; victory for Liverpool will half their six-point deficit on the Red Devils.
This is the second of three massive fixtures in eight days for the Merseysiders, following Tuesday's decisive 0-4 Champions League win over Marseilles in France, and ahead of Wednesday's Carling Cup quarter-final at Chelsea.
Liverpool suffered a shock loss, away to Reading last Saturday, and are in danger of their first back-to-back defeats in 17 Premier League matches.
Both these clubs are meeting a fellow member of the "big four" for the third time this season, and both are unbeaten: United beat Chelsea 2-0 at home on 23 September and drew 2-2 at Arsenal on 3 November, while Liverpool have drawn both theirs 1-1 at home, to Chelsea on 19 August and to Arsenal on 28 October.
Sir Alex Ferguson has had the better of the exchanges with Rafael Benitez. United have won five and drawn one of the six Premier League matches against Rafa's Reds, although the Merseysiders did knock out United from the FA Cup in February 2006.
Manchester United ended Liverpool's 30-match unbeaten Premier League record at Anfield with a 0-1 victory in this corresponding fixture last March. John O'Shea came off the bench to win a dramatic stoppage time winner, after Paul Scholes was sent off for swinging a punch at Liverpool's Xabi Alonso.
Liverpool have suffered more Premier League defeats to Manchester United than any other club (16), and conceded more Premier League goals against them than to any other side (44).

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)
1. Defeat to Reading ended a 15-match unbeaten Premier League sequence of eight wins and seven draws.
2. The three goals from the Royals were the first conceded in five Premier League outings, and increased the total of those shipped in this league campaign by half as much again (from six to nine).
3. Last lost successive league games away to Portsmouth and Fulham on 28 April and 5 May respectively.
4. Averaging two points per match; 30 in 15. They are eight points better off than at this same stage last season.
5. Conceded the opening goal only twice in Premier League matches this season - fewer than any other club, and one of two clubs not to have let in a goal in the first 15 minutes; the other is Blackburn.
6. Trailed at half-time only once in this Premier League season (away to Everton).
7. Won the last five league and cup games at Anfield, with an aggregate score of 20-2.
8. Undefeated in 11 home league games; won six and drawn five since the 0-1 loss to Manchester United on 3 March.
9. The only club to have scored as many as four penalties in Premiership competition this season, and one of two clubs to have conceded four; the other is Birmingham.
10. The remaining Premier League fixtures this year involve a home game with Portsmouth, a Boxing Day visit to Derby and another away trip to Manchester City, before entering 2008 with a home fixture against Wigan on 2 January.

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)
1. Won 16 of 20 in all competitions, and lost one of 14.
2. One of two clubs with as many as 11 Premier League wins; the other is Arsenal.
3. Boasting the tightest defence in the highest league; just eight goals shipped in 16 outings, at one very two games, or three hours, on average.
4. Won three more Premier League matches than Liverpool (11 to eight), but lost one more (two to one).
5. Won 11 of the last 13 Premier League matches, losing just one of the 13.
6. Kept clean sheets in eight of the last 13 league outings, and failed to score in one of their last 13 league games; the 1-0 loss, away to Bolton on 24 November.
7. Not lost in any league game this term in which they have scored; won 11 and drawn two of 13.
8. Scored first in an unequalled 12 Premier League matches; won 10 and drawn two.
9. Conceded only two goals in the last 15 minutes of Premier League matches this term; only Arsenal and Liverpool can match that.
10. The remaining matches this year include a home game with Everton, a Boxing Day visit to Sunderland, and another away trip to West Ham, before the New Year's Day fixture home to Birmingham.
Fernando TORRES is Liverpool's top scorer with 12 goals.
TORRES and Steven GERRARD are the clubs' joint top Premier League marksmen with six goals each.
Goalkeeper Jose REINA is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool's Premier League matches this season.
REINA leads the race for the Barclays Golden Glove, keeping nine clean sheets.
Cristiano RONALDO is Manchester United's top scorer with 14 goals.
RONALDO is also their leading Premier League marksman with nine. He jointly leads the race for the Barclays Golden Boot, alongside Arsenal's Emmanuel ADEBAYOR.
Rio FERDINAND is the only remaining player to have started all of Manchester United's Premier League matches this season.
If on the field from the outset:-
Chris EAGLES will be making his 50th club league start (Manchester United, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday).
Long term injury, Gary NEVILLE will be making his 350th Premier League start for Manchester United.

Manchester United did the double over Liverpool for the fourth time in the Premier League last season, and the second time in three seasons.
Manchester United were the only club to win home and away against the Merseysiders last season, but Liverpool were one of 12 doubled by the Red Devils in the last campaign.
United are aiming to beat Liverpool in the league for the fourth time in a row.
The only point in 18 Liverpool have notched against United came from a goalless draw at Anfield on 18 September 2005.
Home and awayLeague (inc PL): Liverpool 49 wins, Man Utd 56, Draws 43Prem: Liverpool 7 wins, Man Utd 16, Draws 7
at Liverpool onlyLeague (inc PL): Liverpool 35 wins, Man Utd 21, Draws 18Prem: Liverpool 4 wins, Man Utd 8, Draws 3
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United3 March 2007 - Ref: Martin AtkinsonMan Utd scorer: O'Shea 90Sent Off: Scholes (Man Utd) 86

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