The Reds host Louis van Gaal’s side knowing that a victory will hoist them above their rivals into fourth place in the table heading into the final eight games of the season.
Both sides warmed up for Sunday’s clash with Premier League victories, as United eased past Tottenham 3-0 at Old Trafford and Liverpool beat Swansea City 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
Liverpool will have too much pace and movement up front for the visitors
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is expecting a tight game on Merseyside but believes that Brendan Rodgers’ men will have the edge over the Red Devils as the race for a top-four finish hots up.
Merson told Sky Sports: “Liverpool definitely start as favourites to win this game, although I do not think that they can afford to lose as then they will fall five points behind United, and that will be too many to catch up with so few games left to play this season.
“United’s win over Spurs on Sunday was the best they have played so far this campaign and while people have said how poor Spurs were, I have seen them play that badly before this season and still win games, such as at Aston Villa.
“If United can get into the final third often enough and get the ball to Ashley Young, then Marouane Fellaini becomes a big threat.
“However, if they have to start their attacks in their own half and play it forward from there to the Belgian, then I think Liverpool will be able to cope with that OK.
“And while United were very good in that match against Tottenham last weekend, I still feel Liverpool will win this game as they will have too much pace and movement up front for the visitors, and I do not see how their back four will be able to cope with the home team’s attacking players.”
Liverpool, who are also bidding to reach the FA Cup semi-finals, are in fine form domestically, after having won eight and drawn two in their last 10 Premier League games.
United, meanwhile, have won six of their last 10, drawing twice and losing twice.
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