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ESPN – Stakes and drama always high when Man United play Liverpool at Anfield

Our football gurus discuss which teams in Premier League are still in the running for a Champions League spot at season's end. Anfield. It's a word that evokes a multitude of mixed memories for Manchester United fans, mainly negative in recent seasons as United's form has been so poor at Liverpool. Ahead of United's game at the ground currently having a huge new main stand built which will boost the capacity over 50,000, this column is not going to dwell on the negative. No mentions of losing the league there in 1992, of Paddy Roche dropping a cross in 1975, of cup defeats or bad results year after year. No, any United…

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ESPN – Wayne Rooney key as Man Utd must click into gear at Newcastle

ESPN FC's Ian Darke previews Manchester United's midweek fixture against Newcastle and predicts whether or not the Red Devils will hold on to their top four spot by season's end. The ESPN FC crew discuss potential replacements for Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City next season, the most exciting team in the Premier League and whether or not Championship side Ipswich Town will be promoted. Manchester United play Newcastle United away on Wednesday, with Liverpool looming large behind them in the Premier League table. It is as good a time as any to produce a performance that confirms their pedigree as a UEFA Champions League team, but Louis van Gaal faces familiar problems over selection. While Ander Herrera finally seems to have established himself as a regular starter — to the delight and the relief of many — Van Gaal is struggling to get the best from Angel Di Maria, someone whom…

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ESPN – A tribute to Darren Fletcher: Manchester United’s consummate pro

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti believes it is financial factors that have played the key role in the lack of transfers during the January transfer window, but Chelsea and Manchester City benefitted from their additions. “Shoot,” implored the away end. Darren Fletcher had been on the field at Villa Park for less than a minute and had taken his first touch as a United player in a little over a year. The fans were delighted to see him and there was more than a hint of a smile on the Scot's face as he calmly passed the ball sideways to Antonio Valencia. WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW LATEST – TRANSFERS: All the deals – Lythell: Cuadrado, Schurrle good business for Chelsea – WATCH: Premier League transfer window review – Usher: Liverpool's quiet window puts the burden on Sturridge – McNicholas: Arsenal's decent transfer window – Insider: Grading Prem's 10 biggest transfers Things looked grim for Fletcher for the two years before that comeback on Dec. 15, 2013. Being diagnosed with a degenerative virus had caused the midfielder to…

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ESPN – Liverpool happy with the late, late show if it helps them turn a corner

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers looks forward his side's next three fixtures following their back-to-back league victories. Liverpool fans would not normally confess to being envious of Arsenal but the Londoners have quite a player in Alexis Sanchez. There's some hubris here, in that Arsenal tried to take Luis Suarez away from Anfield during the summer of 2013. Though the club held firm and had its best season in years, the Uruguayan eventually left for Barcelona anyway. A cash-plus-Sanchez deal would have been perfect for Liverpool but sadly the player chose Arsenal. Had he not, it's likely the two clubs' fortunes would…

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