Last updated : 22 January 2006 By Ed


"Patrice [Evra] will start.

"It is not a risk. He got an eye injury last week but because we were already 2-0 down, we thought it was better to get him off at half-time rather than give him another five or 10 minutes just in case the problem went away.

"In fact, it might not have been a bad thing to have him on the bench because at least he got to watch the remainder of the game and see what Premiership football is all about."


"There is tremendous pressure on ourselves and Liverpool, more so than any other club.

"If you look at the history books, there is no question we are the two most successful clubs in Britain.

"Because of the geography, there has always been a competition between Manchester and Liverpool and because they are just along the road, if one club is doing well, the other is sitting on your doorstep having to suffer.

"Some of our players, and maybe even some of our fans, may think differently but this is the game I look forward to most because it reflects the very reason for me being here.

"When I first came south, the challenge was to overhaul Liverpool. I knew what I had to do and thankfully I did it."


"The thing that has helped Liverpool this year is that they have not had many injuries.

"Rafael has had a clean bill of health for most of the season whereas last season he lost quite a few players and it does have an impact."

About Morientes accusation that United are dirty:

"I have to think what Morientes has said has lost something in its interpretation.

"We had some meaty games involving people like Norman Whiteside and Steve McMahon when I first arrived.

"But for as long as I can remember, both sets of players have respected the importance of the game and played it in the right spirit.

"There has never been any lack of controversy and incident and there have been a few players sent off but there has never been anything which left me to say it had been a really physical match."


"Liverpool are on a great run at the moment but we have beaten other teams on a similar run in the past and hopefully we can do it again.

"This is one of the games you look forward to when the fixtures are first announced and you only need to look at the table to see how important it is to us this season.

"They have two games in hand on us and are only one point behind, so it is clear we have to win.

Referring to last weekend's debacle:

"Although it is hard sometimes, you have to try and move on and the win over Burton has got us going again.

"You need to recover from any loss as quickly as you can and it was important to play again straight after the City game.

"There seems to be some kind of rivalry with a lot of our opponents but it exists more with Liverpool because of what has happened over the years.

"But there has never been any trouble in these matches. It is always hard but fair and it is nice to be involved in them.

"They are doing well but I am not worried about that. The only thing I care about is our results. All their form should do is emphasise we can do exactly the same thing."

Gerrard talks about Rooney being 'sick' about the Dirties beating Milan on penalties last year:

"I'm not surprised. I'd probably get a similar feeling as him if Manchester United were to go and do it - that's just the rivalry between the two clubs.

"It's great to see Wayne doing well because he's a great mate of mine from the England set-up and he's absolutely flying at the moment.

"I think a couple of years down the line we'll be talking about him as one of the best players in the world."


"After that, I didn't buy a paper for a week.

"I didn't like giving Liverpool credit, but you've got to for coming back from 3-0 down in the final against AC Milan.

"It's not nice for United players and fans when Liverpool win anything, but admittedly that was some feat.

"I don't think it really matters with United and Liverpool games, where the teams happen to be in the league, or what sort of form they're in.

"They are always massive games. For United fans and players, it's simply the biggest game there is.

"No matter what form Arsenal or Chelsea are in, because of the history, the rivalry, the 30 miles or so separating the two teams, it's always been that way."

Benitez praises Fergie's record:

"I'd love to try and win as many trophies as Sir Alex has, perhaps even more. It wouldn't be normal for someone to stay at the same club that length of time in Spain - normally there it's more like one year, or even one week - but I enjoy training, coaching and working in a big club with the chance to win trophies. If I can do that for 20 years, then great.

"You have to learn to cope with the pressure, and Sir Alex has done that. You have to stay calm and realise that after every Sunday comes a Monday. It's difficult to stay calm, but that's sometimes the difference between a good and a bad manager. After a storm, you have to keep your chin up."

Squads, courtesy of the Beeb:

Manchester United hope to have Alan Smith back after an ankle problem.

Paul Scholes (blurred vision) and Park Ji-sung (knee) are definitely out - as is Cristiano Ronaldo, who is serving a three-match ban.

Liverpool pair Luis Garcia and Bolo Zenden are the only absentees ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

Garcia is not fully recovered from a knee injury while Dutchman Zenden is a longer term absentee as he recovers from knee surgery.

Utd (from): Van der Sar, Howard, Neville, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre, Vidic, Evra, O'Shea, Richardson, Smith, Fletcher, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Saha, Rossi.

Dippers (from): Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Warnock, Traore, Gerrard, Hamann, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell, Cisse, Morientes, Sinama Pongolle, Crouch, Kromkamp, Agger, Carson.


According to the BBC, it looks to be fine and about 7°C