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Rooney’s record, Coutinho’s return & goals galore – Talking points ahead of Man United vs. Liverpool

Manchester United host arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. Here Press Association Sport looks at some of the issues ahead of the Premier League match.

FINE TIME FOR ROONEY TO MAKE HISTORY?

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney needs just one goal to eclipse Sir Bobby Charlton and become the club’s record scorer.

The England striker drew level on 249 last weekend and nothing would give the boyhood Evertonian more pleasure than to break the record against Liverpool.

However, his record against the Reds suggests Rooney may struggle. He has just six goals in 26 appearances against Liverpool—he has scored the same number against AC Milan.

Rooney may also find the return to fitness of Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets in his way.

 

CAN COUTINHO HACK THE PACE?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 24, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Hull City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho made a welcome return from almost seven weeks out with ankle ligament damage in the midweek EFL Cup defeat at Southampton.

The 30 minutes provided a good run-out but manager Jurgen Klopp must decide whether he can risk him from the start or use him again as an impact player.

Judging by Liverpool’s performances in 2017 so far, Klopp may be tempted to give him a go from the off but he may not last 90 minutes.

 

WILL HENRIKH HIT KLOPP WHERE IT HURTS?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 4, 2016: Everton's Leighton Baines in action against Henrik Mkhitaryan of Manchester United during the FA Premier League match at Goodison Park. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a key player for Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.

The Liverpool manager is still an admirer of the Armenian’s silky skills and will be only too wary of the damage he can do now he has acclimatised to life at Old Trafford following his summer move from Germany.

Mkhitaryan has been credited as one of the players who have had a significant influence in helping United to nine wins in a row and how well he does—or how well Liverpool cope with him—will be a pivotal factor.

 

STAND BY FOR TOUCHLINE FIREWORKS

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the touchline during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. (Dave Howarth PA Wire/PA Images)

Jose Mourinho has had his fair share of run-ins with officials this season and the sight of Klopp shouting and leaping about is unlikely to make the Portuguese any calmer.

Both managers are emotional figures—Mourinho claims he is calmer than his counterpart—and there may be as many histrionics between the two dugouts as there are on the pitch.

 

GOALS ARE SURELY GUARANTEED

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 27, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the second goal against Stoke City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The last goalless draw between the two teams at Old Trafford came in October 1991. Since then the 24 league clashes have produced at least one goal in each.

There has also not been a league draw between the sides on the ground since March 2000, with Liverpool winning five and United 11 of the subsequent 16 encounters.

After the dire spectacle served up at Anfield in October the expectation is greater things are in store this time around.

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