Manchester United vs. Liverpool preview: Reds in search of breakthrough win

Laurence Griffiths

Liverpool are still searching for their first win over a top half team as they head to Old Trafford.

Manchester United and Liverpool used to play for a spot at the top of the table, but the Reds have put the kibosh on that. Now the derby naturally stands out, though not for its bearing on the table, so while all of that is fine and dandy (really, it is in a clash of two teams who dislike each other this much), it lacks a certain luster.

Liverpool can add a bit of intrigue, if not luster, when the two teams square off on Sunday, though. The Reds have won consecutive Premier League matches by a score of 3-0 and are beginning to show signs of a turnaround. Daniel Sturridge is in the fold and set to make his league debut for Liverpool at Old Trafford. All in all, things are looking up at Liverpool, at least relatively.

But the Reds still have a bit of a problem: they have not won a single match against a team in the top half yet this season.

On Sunday, Liverpool can remedy that, but the odds are not in their favor. They are away to a team that has won nine of 10 at home this season, and the Reds have won just three of 10 away from Anfield. There is also that little thing of Manchester United being the best team in England (which, admittedly, only means so much this season) and Liverpool being thoroughly mediocre.

Once upon a time, this derby would be for a leg up in the title race. Instead, it is just Liverpool trying to cut down their far superior rivals, but they have a statement to make, too. Can they beat a decent team? That's step one (of many, many steps) to returning this derby to one with a trophy on the line.

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