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Rupert Wyman 18th Sep 2010 - 17:45

Big names return for Old Trafford showdown

After giving their squad players a run out in Europe in midweek both these teams will be rolling out the big guns for what is arguably the biggest derby in English football.

It shows the importance both managers hold this fixture in that Sir Alex made ten changes for a Champions League game and Liverpool left out both Gerrard and Torres for their first game of the Europa Cup group games in readiness for this derby.

Ferguson has done little to play down the rivalry between the sides "It doesn't change what I say time and again when this fixture comes about. It is the fixture, no doubt about that," Ferguson said.

"Historically it's always been that way. Even industrially, it was always been a competition between Liverpool and Manchester since the opening of the Manchester ship canal so it's always going to be there."

United are undefeated so far in the Premier League but will not be happy with two draws meaning they are already four points behind pace setters Chelsea. The London side have a home game against Blackpool later on Sunday so United know a slip up here could leave them seven points behind which will be worrying, even at this early stage.

United were excellent in parts last weekend against Everton but threw away victory in two minutes of injury time madness after leading 3-1. They welcome back Wayne Rooney for this one and the striker will be fresh and raring to go against the Reds.

Rooney put in two good performances for England before missing the trip to Goodison Park and unless his recent personal problems have had too much of an adverse effect on him I expect him to be the key man if United are going to win here.  He is 7/2 to opening the scoring.

At the other end Fernando Torres is also under pressure after a poor start to the season.  Whilst most Liverpool supporters understand he is still finding his fitness and form following injuries at the back end of last season and again in the World Cup final he received a great deal of flak following his sides 0-0 draw with Birmingham, a performance described by Sky Pundit Jamie Redknapp as "diabolical". He is a massive 7/1 to bounce back here by scoring first.

If you fancy both Rooney and Torres to continue their struggles we have a special price of 5/4 on them both to fail to score in this fixture.

Joe Cole returns from suspension following his opening day red card. He scored a crucial goal at Old Trafford last season for his former club Chelsea and he will become a Kop hero if he can repeat that feat here, he is 11/1 to score first.

There hasn't been a draw between these sides in five years, the last stalemate a 0-0 draw at Anfield in 2005. If you fancy that to change it in this one it's 23/10 for them to share the points.

Liverpool gained a famous Old Trafford win over their rivals two years ago winnng 4-1 and if you fancy them to get another win this year you can back them at 9/2.

Unlike some fixtures between these sides in recent times I don't expect many goals and I think one goal could win it for either side.  There is so much at stake even at this early stage of the season that I expect a cagey affair.

On that basis I think under 1.5 goals is worth a bet at odds of 9/4. It could well be 0-0 at half time  with home advantage making the difference in the second half with United (8/11) running out winners by a score of 1-0 (11/2).

This is an early kick off at 1.30pm so don't oversleep! It's live on Sky Sports 1.


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