United brace for Liver­pool crunch

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

LONDON. - Manch­ester United have a golden op­por­tu­nity to haul them­selves into the English Premier League soc­cer ti­tle race at the ex­pense of bit­ter ri­vals Liver­pool this week­end, while lead­ers Chelsea will look to steady their nerves at Le­ices­ter.

United go into the Old Traf­ford show­down in fine fet­tle af­ter beat­ing Hull in the League Cup semi-fi­nal first leg in mid­week to ex­tend their win­ning streak in all com­pe­ti­tions to nine matches.

Jose Mour­inho’s sixth-placed side still trail Chelsea by 10 points and lag five be­hind se­cond-placed Liver­pool.

But vic­tory to­mor­row, with Mour­inho call­ing for United fans to raise the roof, would be a sig­nif­i­cant state­ment of in­tent.

Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic has been a key fig­ure in United’s re­cent surge and de­spite his team’s cur­rent po­si­tion the Swedish striker has set his sights on adding a Premier League medal to the league ti­tles he won in Spain, Italy, France and Hol­land.

“I’m chas­ing the head tro­phy, the Premier League, that is my aim,” said Ibrahi­movic, who has 13 league goals this sea­son.

“I try to help the team and do what I’m best at -- scor­ing goals, play­ing good and cre­at­ing chances for my team-mates.”

Ibrahi­movic’s team-mate Paul Pogba has also spo­ken out about Manch­ester United’s ri­valry with Liver­pool ahead of their Premier League clash - dis­miss­ing the Manch­ester City derby in the process.

The French mid­fielder talked about the his­tory of the game with Liver­pool and says he’s des­per­ate for all three points to­mor­row.

One of the things he picks up on is the spe­cial at­mos­phere, which builds ahead of the clash and is present when the two teams take to the pitch.

In the same breath he dis­misses United’s derby with City, sug­gest­ing that for him­self and the fans three points against Liver­pool means a lit­tle bit more.

Pogba said: “The his­tory with Liver­pool and Manch­ester United, it’s a big derby.

“More than Man City, I think be­cause the way you feel the at­mos­phere - it’s more.

“For me I want to win, I want three points, it’s good to win three points against Stoke City, any team in the league.

Fix­tures (all 5pm un­less stated)

To­day: Burn­ley v Southamp­ton, Hull v Bournemouth, Le­ices­ter v Chelsea (7:30pm), Sun­der­land v Stoke, Swansea v Arse­nal, Tot­ten­ham v West Brom (2:30pm), Wat­ford v Mid­dles­brough, West Ham v Crys­tal Palace To­mor­row: Ever­ton v Manch­ester City (3:30pm), Manch­ester United v Liver­pool (6pm) -

Paul Pogba

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