LIVERPOOL V MANCHESTER UNITED, KICK-OFF 1.30PM
12.39 Here we go.... We've got team news for Liverpool
Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard, Allen, Shelvey; Borini, Suarez, Sterling
12.37 Here's a stat for you. Under Alex Ferguson Manchester United have beaten Liverpool 24 times and lost 15. Before him they had lost 48 times and won just 37.
12.30 Still no team news but I will reveal all as soon as the information is released into the public domain
12.29 Our man Paul Hayward with a tweet that should make most people go 'aww, bless':
Twitter: Paul Hayward - Inscribed on baby grow selling outside Anfield: "You'll Never Crawl Alone." Start 'em young.
12.27 Jose Mourinho has weighed in on today's match. Frank and to the point, as is his wont:
Brendan [Rodgers] can't be champion with that team. He can't make miracles with that team and that's not his job. Liverpool's expectations are very high but the reality is that they're not the best team in the Premiership. Not even close. I hope he has time to build because if you don't have the top players in your hand then you don't have time to build. He deserves that.
12.23 Here's the first sign that everything will go smoothly today. Manchester United fans have left a floral tribute of their own to the 96:
12.19 Liverpool go into today's game in the relegation zone after Southampton climbed out of the bottom three. Saints lost their first four games following promotion, but came back from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 4-1 at St Mary's yesterday. Liverpool are 18th with just two points to their name.
12.12 Some flowers have been left to rest by the Liverpool memorial outside Anfield:
12.08 Have a read of Henry Winter's column from today's Sunday Telegraph:
It is time to awake the conscience, to appeal to supporters’ better traits. Some of the terrace taunters lack a conscience so it will require right-minded fans either to take them to task or sing louder, drowning them out.
12.04 Here's a statistic that highlights Liverpool's lack of form over the last year:
Twitter: Opta - 4 - Liverpool have won only four of their last 18 Premier League games at Anfield. Struggle.
12.02 There are four main tributes planned today:
• Both sides will wear tracksuits with No 96 on the back • The teams will shake hands as You'll Never Walk Alone is played • There will be three mosaics on the Kop (The Truth) Anifleld Road (96) and Lower Centenary Stand (Justice, pictured below) • Captains will shake hands and toss the coin before they release 96 red balloons immediately before kick-off
12.00 The big story from today's Sunday papers is Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's plea to striker Luis Suarez to Do The Right Thing and shake Man United left-back Patrice Evra's hand before kick-off today, despite the obvious animosity between the two men. Here's what the England captain had to say:
I think them two players could be the key. That’s going to be at the beginning of the game, the handshake and if it goes ahead then they’ve got a responsibility to start the day off on a good note. I just think it’s time to move on. My advice to him [Suarez] would be to shake hands and move on. Suarez will make his own decision, of course he will. But I’d like to think he would want to move on himself.
11.55 Good afternoon and thanks for joining me for live coverage of the biggest match of the weekend. Except that it's more than a match, isn't it? It became more than a match the moment Prime Minister David Cameron stood up in the House of Commons and revealed the shocking truth behind the Hillsborough disaster.
Two long-time rivals are coming together for a hotly-contested Premier League match but there are challenges distinct from the 90 minutes of football for fans – and certain players – to overcome. Today football has a chance to rise above the tribalism and do away with the thuggish and boorish behaviour that tarnishes its reputation. Both sets of supporters have an opportunity to come together to honour the 96 fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster. The world will be watching. Please do us proud football, please.
OK, emotional preamble done. Here's a purely footballing preview for you to sink your teeth into before we get under way:
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will bring back all his big names. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly were all rested for Thursday night's 5-3 Europa League win at Young Boys but will return as the Reds go looking for their first Premier League victory of the season.
Forwards Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling, substitutes in Switzerland, are likely to start while midfielder Jonjo Shelvey pressed his claims for inclusion with a two-goal second-half cameo.
United winger Ashley Young misses the match after being ruled out for a further two to three weeks with knee cartilage trouble.
Wayne Rooney will also be absent due to a gashed thigh despite reports he was due to make an earlier-than-expected comeback.
Darren Fletcher, who came on as a substitute in the Champions League win over Galatasaray in midweek having recovered from a chronic bowel condition, is not being considered for a return to the starting line-up with Sir Alex Ferguson instead pin-pointing next Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash with Newcastle.
Chris Bascombe’s prediction: Liverpool 1 Manchester United 1.
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