Manchester United face Liverpool in a key clash for both teams, as the two sides looks to make a statement in a hotly contested derby game

The first fixture between these two traditional rivals this season ended in a rather tame draw. The 0-0 result at Anfield wasn’t what was expected from such a high octane encounter, and barbs have since been exchanged about setting up defensively and playing it cautious.

However, as the Reds travel to Old Trafford, fans will be hoping the Northwest derby proves to be all it’s cracked up to be. The two sides fortune’s have changed since their last game, and it is Manchester United who head into the game full of confidence.

However, Jurgen Klopp and his men have been taking the Premier League by storm this season, and recent results may prove to be a glitch rather than the trajectory. With the big game on Sunday fast approaching, here are five reasons for you to look forward to this epic encounter.

1. Rooney to break the record against his most hated rivals?

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (R) is congratulated by Morgan Schneiderlin (L) after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool, Britain, 17 January 2016. (Photo by Peter Powell/EPA)

First Everton and now United, Rooney’s lack of love for Liverpool remains (Photo courtesy Peter Powell/EPA)

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that Wayne Rooney really doesn’t like Liverpool. The Englishman was rejected by the club as a nine-year-old, and has since gone on to steal the show for their two great rivals in Everton and Manchester United.

It’s been a long time since that trial, and Rooney now stands on the cusp of history. He just needs one more goal to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals for Manchester United, and he would absolutely love to score it against the Old Enemy.

The game against Liverpool provides the Croxteth-born United striker a perfect opportunity to mark a momentous occasion in an already larger-than-life success story.

2. The 50th Premier League game

The match at Old Trafford on Sunday the 15th of January, 2017 will be the fiftieth tie between the two traditional rivals in the Premier League era. While Liverpool were the dominant force in England and Europe in the 70’s and 80’s, Manchester United have managed to knock them off their perch.

This is reflected in their record in the Premier League era. The Red Devils can boast of 27 victories to Liverpool’s 13, and will look to improve on this record. Liverpool, on the other hand, have managed some stellar victories over United, and will want to improve on their own record in this fixture.

3. Klopp and Mkhitaryan turn against each other

Dortmund's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan walks past Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp (L) during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs 1FC Nuernberg in Dortmund, western Germany, on March 1, 2014. (Photo by Norbert Schmidt/AFP)

Divided loyalties this time around for Klopp and Mkhitaryan (Photo courtesy Norbert Schmidt/AFP)

They are two of the biggest imports from the Bundesliga, but they find themselves on opposite sides after building their reputations by working together. Jurgen Klopp will come up against one of his most valued players at Dortmund, as Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks set to start for United.

This is the first time that the two will come up against each other, as Mkhitaryan was out injured during the goalless draw at Anfield. Klopp has already termed Mkhitaryan ‘world-class’ ahead of the game, and it looks like the mutual respect will still be there regardless of this game’s result.

4. The sheer physicality

There may be many football fans who are ardent admirers the Spanish game of free-flowing, fluid football. However, the English game built its foundation on solid sheer, brutal and sometimes over-the-top physicality, with hard-nosed defenders and no nonsense midfield generals.

The Northwest derby seems to have calmed down quite a bit, but the pressure cooker atmosphere of Old Trafford combined with what’s at stake is sure to bring out that competitive edge and nasty side in many of the players involved. Liverpool’s high pressing style is also sure to get under the skin of many a United player.

We can only pray that Adam Lallana doesn’t get too carried away.

5. Mourinho versus Klopp — Attack versus attack

Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp (R) shakes hands with Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho prior to the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg football match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid on April 24, 2013 in Dortmund, western Germany. (Photo credit: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Two of the best coaches in the world go head to head (Photo credit: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho has managed to get the better of his German counterpart only once in six games. The Portuguese manager will be hoping to get the better of Klopp this time around, and it will all be down to the tactical set-up.

Last time out, Mourinho complained about Liverpool playing two central midfielders and thwarting his plans. This time he will hope that his side can outplay the high pressing Reds this time around. Manchester United have shown attacking prowess while dominating possession in recent games, and this sets up the game quite nicely.

Liverpool are one of the most attacking teams in the league this season, and if both teams go all out, we could end up seeing some quite brilliant end-to-end football this Sunday.

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