A classic rivalry returns as Liverpool travels to Manchester United in desperate need of a statement win.
The teams face off from Old Trafford live at 8:30am ET on NBCSN, or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
The two have churned out some surprises in the lineups today, with the biggest being Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet sent to the bench. Brad Jones starts in his place.
On the other end, at just 19 years old James Wilson starts up front for Manchester United alongside Robin van Persie.
The two teams come into the match in very different situations. Liverpool has struggled mightily of late, needing some kind of boost to save their season. The Reds were knocked out of the Champions League midweek by Swiss side Basel, and have won just two of their last eight Premier League matches, unable to score against Sunderland last time out.
Meanwhile, Manchester United has seen themselves slowly push up the table despite a horrid injury bug, settling into third place at the moment. The position is a precarious one, and while Michael Carrick said midweek that United is back in the title race, they remain 11 points off the leaders and just one from dropping out of a Champions League spot.
That injury crisis has seen a Chris Smalling groin tear force him off just as fellow defenders Phil Jones and Jonny Evans return. Those two start in the middle, while Wilson plays up top because Falcao still cannot cannot come close to logging a full 90 minutes. In addition, defender Marcos Rojo misses out with a training injury, Louis van Gaal confirmed.
Liverpool, meanwhile, has maintained relatively healthy, but has still produced an underwhelming season thus far. Mignolet has been poor between the sticks, but has hardly been the only problem. Nevertheless, Brendan Rodgers has seen fit to start 32-year-old Australian international Jones in his place, making his 24th Liverpool appearance since joining the club in 2010, but the first since March 16 of 2013.
Rodgers told reporters after releasing the teamsheet, “He [Mignolet] will benefit from being out of the spotlight.”
Jones has lived a life of the second-string keeper at both the club and country level, sitting behind Australian legend Mark Schwarzer for the Socceroos. He’s held just two professional contracts since joining Middlesbrough in 2001, but during that span, his two clubs have sent him on a combined seven loan spells.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Evans, Young, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata, Rooney, van Persie, Wilson.
Bench: Lindegaard, McNair, Blackett, Herrera, Fletcher, Januzaj, Falcao.
Liverpool: Jones, Skrtel, Lovren, Johnson, Moreno, Henderson, Allen, Gerrard, Coutinho, Lallana, Sterling.
Bench: Mignolet, Toure, Lambert, Lucas, Can, Balotelli, Markovic.