Manchester United vs Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers drops Simon Mignolet and picks a three-man defence

The match kicks off at 1.30pm

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The Independent Football

Brendan Rodgers has dropped his goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for today’s Premier League game against Manchester United, picking Brad Jones instead and opting for a three-man defence at Old Trafford.

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Rodgers will set-up with Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren as his three centre-backs with Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno as wing-backs. The Liverpool manager has won two of his last nine games, in all competitions.

Louis Van Gaal has picked the club’s 19-year-old striker James Wilson in a partnership with Robin Van Persie. It is anticipated that Wayne Rooney will line up behind the two with Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini either side of him. Phil Jones is also back in the side for the first time since 20 October, a late replacement for Marcos Rojo, who suffered an injury in training. Van Gaal said in his programme notes that he has told his players not to risk a red card in the intense atmosphere that is likely to be created between these two old rivals.

He writes: “The most important thing is that you never get a red card [in games between traditional rivals]. The atmosphere in the stadium sometimes makes players push harder, but the players have to control their emotions in these circumstances. That is a big part of being a professional football player.”

He said that Robin Van Persie’s goals against Southampton showed he was returning to form. “Strikers are always criticised if they are not scoring goals and I can see in the training sessions and the last couple of matches that he [Van Persie] is very close to being back to his best.”

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