United, Liverpool renew fierce rivalry

Manchester, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Manchester United and Liverpool will renew their fierce rivalry on Sunday when the two side square off at Old Trafford.

The two clubs have forged one of the world's most heated rivalries due to their close proximity to one another as well as the enduring success that has resulted in a combined 38 top-flight titles - 18 for Liverpool and 20 for United.

Sunday's clash will mark the beginning of a new era for the rivalry as both clubs appear to have found managers capable of leading their respective teams in the long run.

Brendan Rodgers, in his third season with the Anfield outfit, nearly brought the Reds a Premier League title last term only to see his men crumble down the stretch.

But the response from Liverpool this season has been hugely disappointing as the club enters the weekend ninth in the table with just two wins in its last nine matches across all competitions.

Crashing out of the Champions League may prove to be a blessing in disguise as the Reds will be able to solely focus on domestic competitions, but they will return to league action with one of their most difficult fixtures.

Old Trafford is, traditionally, one of England's more engulfing venues for visiting sides, though some level of intimidation had been lost during United's struggles under David Moyes last season.

Louis van Gaal arrived during the summer and didn't fare much better in the early months of the season, but the Dutchman seems to have finally settled in at United, rattling off five straight wins to lift the Red Devils to third place in the table with 28 points.

One of the more intriguing storylines of Sunday's affair will be the tactical battle between Rodgers and Van Gaal. Rodgers demonstrated his ability to alter tactics on the fly last season, and to much success. But turnover to the squad and added fixtures have hampered his ability to tinker.

Van Gaal, by comparison, has had to change his tactics out of necessity. The Dutchman has had to shuffle formations and personnel on a regular basis due to United's litany of injuries, but the club has managed to weather the storm and pick up results despite not playing the most attractive brand of football.

Chelsea suffered its first Premier League defeat of the season last time out, falling to Newcastle United at St. James' Park. The club's air of invincibility is gone, but the Blues are still favorites to claim the title, entering the weekend three points clear at the top of the table.

Jose Mourinho's men will look to rebound against Hull City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday while second-place Manchester City, reeling from the absence of Sergio Aguero, will head to the KP Stadium for a potentially tricky fixture against Leicester City.

Arsenal was given a good hiding in its last league outing, dropping its third match in five with a disappointing 3-2 loss at Stoke City. The Gunners bounced back with a solid performance at Galatasaray on Tuesday, but they will face a stiff test on Saturday when they welcome Newcastle to the Emirates.

Southampton will attempt to regroup from a three-game slide on Saturday when the club heads to Turf Moor to face Burnley while West Ham United will look to claim a fourth straight league win and slot into third place with maximum points at Sunderland.

Also on Saturday, Aston Villa will head to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace will play host to Stoke at Selhurst Park.

Sunday's last fixture will pit Tottenham against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium while Everton will return to action on Monday against QPR at Goodison Park.