Marcus Rashford is not in the squad for Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

The forward misses Sunday's game after failing to recover from a back problem suffered after he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup third-round replay defeat of Wolves.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has named Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Andreas Pereira as United's attacking players in what appears to be a similar setup to the 3-5-2 with which they started the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford in October.

There are suggestions Luke Shaw will join Victor Lindelof and new club captain Harry Maguire in a back three, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams as wing-backs, while Eric Bailly is fit enough only for the bench following his comeback from a serious knee injury.

Liverpool are unchanged from the 1-0 win at Tottenham, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum for Jurgen Klopp's side.

The Reds start the game 13 points clear at the top of the table, with two games in hand over nearest rivals Manchester City.

United are fifth, five points outside the top four and a huge 27 adrift of the league leaders.

Patrice Evra has revealed Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore wrote to him to apologise for the Reds' backing of Luis Suarez following a controversial incident in 2011.

Evra accused Suarez of using a racial slur against him during a match between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool nine years ago.

Suarez was subsequently charged by the Football Association (FA) and banned for eight matches.

Liverpool supported the striker throughout the process, with their players even wearing t-shirts with his name and number on while warming up for a home game.

Jamie Carragher - a key member of Liverpool's team at the time – apologised to Evra while working alongside him as a pundit last October.

The former France full-back has confirmed Liverpool's CEO Moore has also expressed his regret over how the club acted.

"First of all I was really pleased with Jamie Carragher apologising and then I received a personal letter from Peter Moore and I was really touched by it," Evra told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's clash between the Premier League leaders and United at Anfield. 

"He said he hopes it's never too late, because this incident happened nine years ago. Three days after the show [he made contact] and I said thank you very much, this letter has touched my heart.

"I was really disappointed at such a big club like Liverpool to support [Suarez], but now I can see it’s real, honest people working at this club and I get even more respect for Liverpool because I can see they are fighting this problem with the human race.

"I was really pleased and I just said I hope they do not win the league, but that was three months ago! Even though there is a big rivalry between us, it shows Liverpool is a top-class club."

Liverpool head into the contest 27 points clear of United and a win would see them lead the way at the top by 16 points with a game in hand on second-placed Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of emulating the success of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and says Manchester United's bitter rivals are deserving of respect.

Liverpool are on course for a first top-flight crown since 1990 as they find themselves 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League with two games in hand.

The Champions League holders lifted the Club World Cup in December and can take another giant stride towards more silverware when hosting United on Sunday.

United are the only side to have taken league points off Liverpool this term, doing so in a 1-1 draw in October, and Solskjaer admires what Klopp has achieved in five seasons at Anfield.

"He's a great manager and he's done a great job," Solskjaer told United's official website. "He did a rebuilding job and he started almost from scratch. 

"We've started something, we want to get back to challenging for the league. They are now challenging for the league, so well done. 

"He's a very nice man, as well. He's a good manager and, of course, we do respect them. They have proven with their results and performances that they do deserve that respect. 

"I think we've shown them in the games that I've been here that we do prepare very well."

Fifth-placed United trail runaway leaders Liverpool by 27 points and are winless in their last four trips to Anfield in all competitions.

However, Liverpool have won just one of their last 11 league encounters with United and Solskjaer is taking confidence from the draw at Old Trafford three months ago.

"As a manager, I've had Liverpool on the opposite side twice and we've had different ways of approaching it," he said.

"Just go there and have the confidence, the courage and the arrogance - in a good way. Go there and believe in yourself. Handle the crowd, handle your team-mates. 

"There are going to be tackles flying in - it's a local derby. Just win your individual battles and stay emotionally in the game. Control yourselves and just play the game."

Jurgen Klopp claimed Manchester United have assembled one of Europe's strongest squads as he warned Liverpool not to underestimate Sunday's opponents.

The bitter rivals drew 1-1 at Old Trafford in October – the only time this season Liverpool have dropped points in the league – but are separated by 27 points going into the reverse fixture at Anfield.

Liverpool are expected to take another step towards a maiden Premier League title but manager Klopp urged his players to treat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side with caution.

United edged a strong Wolves outfit 1-0 in the FA Cup in midweek and have the chance to close to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

"As a fellow manager it is easy to see the progress they make, although others on the outside are often not so quick to recognise," Klopp said in his club's matchday programme.

"They have recruited some exceptional players and the evolution of their squad makes them one of the strongest in Europe, I would say.

"Look at their talent from the keeper through to the forwards. They have world-class talent in that team and a squad full of match-winners. Big investment has resulted in a very strong group.

"Of course, looking to build something takes time. We know this ourselves. But they build with outstanding results and performances as a foundation.

"Their win this week in the FA Cup against Wolves was yet more evidence of how dangerous they are."

United's hopes of springing an upset will be pinned on repeating the kind of counter-attacking performance that brought Manchester City undone at the Etihad Stadium in December.

However, Klopp insisted there was more evidence than just the Manchester derby to indicate his team are in for a difficult 90 minutes.

"I have no idea how this contest has been billed externally but I also couldn't care less," the German said.

"I know how we have prepared and I know the respect we will show United."

"If anyone thinks that win at City is the only signpost of danger, then they are silly and underestimating," he added.

Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

- Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

- Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

- Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Liverpool are not the greatest team in Premier League history, highlighting Alex Ferguson's record with the Red Devils.

Liverpool are on track for their first league title since 1990 as Jurgen Klopp's unbeaten Reds top the Premier League by 13 points with games in hand.

The Champions League holders can take another step towards the title when they welcome rivals United to Anfield on Sunday.

However, Solskjaer – who claimed six Premier League trophies and the Champions League as a player under legendary manager Ferguson – insisted longevity is the key to greatness.

"If you are taking the long view, the very best teams are the ones who can do it again and again and again," Solskjaer said.

"No one really matches Sir Alex in that respect but I would be the first to admit Jurgen Klopp has done a great job at Liverpool.

"At the moment he seems to know what he’s going to get every time he puts a team out, though we are only just past halfway through the season and there are still a lot of games to go.

"If you look at Liverpool now, they have 33 wins and five draws from their last [their last] 38 [league] games. That's 104 points, so it would have been a more than decent season.

"They are doing well, to say the least, and could win a treble this season but let's see where they are in May. They have a couple of difficult games coming up."

United are fifth, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 27 points adrift of Liverpool.

 

Barcelona and Juventus are in talks about a possible swap deal involving Ivan Rakitic and Federico Bernardeschi.

Rakitic was linked with an exit from Camp Nou during the close season, but ended up staying at Barca.

But he could be on his way to Turin and Bernardeschi may be heading in the opposite direction.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, JUVE IN RAKITIC-BERNARDESCHI SWAP TALKS

Barcelona and Juventus are discussing a possible swap deal involving Rakitic and Bernardeschi, according to AS.

The report says Rakitic – who has made just six LaLiga starts this season – has already agreed personal terms with the Serie A giants.

However, the clubs are yet to reach an agreement, with Rakitic six years older than Italy international Bernardeschi.

ROUND-UP

- There is still work to be done if Bruno Fernandes is to find his way to Manchester United. The Daily Mail and The Sun report United want to pay Sporting CP £34million (€39.9m) with a further £25.5m (€29.9m) in add-ons, including bonuses for the English club winning the Premier League and Champions League.

- Atletico Madrid are not giving up on trying to land Edinson Cavani in this window. The LaLiga side are still eyeing a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward, according to Marca, although they are hoping to negotiate a lower price than the €30m the Ligue 1 club are reportedly wanting.

- The wait continues for Inter as they try to sign Christian Eriksen. CalcioMercato reports Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots is scheduled to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in London next week as the midfielder tries to get his move to the Serie A giants.

- Chelsea are favourites to sign RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to The Sun, but it may take a £68m (€79.8m) deal to land the 23-year-old.

- Arsenal are set for talks with Athletico Paranaense to negotiate a deal for midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to Globo Esporte.

- Staying at Arsenal and France Football reports Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa has agreed to join the Premier League club for free at season's end.

- Javier Hernandez will become one of the highest paid players in MLS. Sports Illustrated reports LA Galaxy will pay Sevilla $9.4m (€8.5m) for the forward, who is set to earn $6m annually, with the potential for that to rise due to bonuses.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes it is impossible to match the dominance Manchester United enjoyed under Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson led United to 13 Premier League titles, a run that began in 1992-93 and ended 20 years later.

Liverpool are aiming for a first league title in 30 years and hold a 14-point lead at the top ahead of hosting United at Anfield on Sunday.

But Klopp believes times have changed so much it is impossible to dominate like United did across the 1990s and early 2000s and Liverpool managed in the 1970s and '80s.

"To be honest I don't think it is possible. I don't think the dominance like they had is possible again," he told UK newspapers.

"Football changed completely, the power of different clubs changed completely. We made a couple of good decisions – that is why we got better. Other teams have the same chance.

"Players are coming up, make decisions. If a midfield player comes on the market and one club doesn't need him, the other club needs him and can get him. Next year he might not be on the market.

"It is like up and down."

Coming off a second-place finish last season, to go with the Champions League crown, Liverpool are unbeaten through 21 league games this campaign.

But while he accepts his side may not dominate, Klopp wants Liverpool to be regular contenders.

"I wouldn't say United in their time won a lot of games 4-0 or 5-0 but they were predictable wins, and that is clear," he said.

"We won a lot of games 1-0 or 2-1 and had to really dig in properly to do so, so I don't see this type of thing.

"But it is important that we can fight every year for it and that is all I need."

This weekend all eyes turn to the EPL where Manchester United tackle unbeaten Liverpool.

Bruno Fernandes is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally seems set to bolster his midfield.

Portugal international Fernandes was heavily linked with both United and Tottenham in the close season, though stayed at Sporting, signing a new deal at the club in November.

The new contract reportedly set the 25-year-old's buy out clause at €100million, though the fee rumoured to have been agreed between United and Sporting is closer to £50m (€58.6m).

Reports on Friday suggested United did not want Fernandes to feature in the Lisbon derby against Benfica, but Sporting and the player wanted to give him the chance to bid farewell to the club's supporters in their biggest home match of the season.

But, amid all of the speculation, just how did the playmaker fare on the pitch as Rafa Silva's late double handed the bragging rights to Benfica?

5th minute – It was a rather anonymous start for Fernandes, who stalled a promising move from Sporting when he intercepted a heavy touch from team-mate Rafael Camacho, despite being stood in an offside position.

13th minute – This will certainly have got United fans excited! From inside Sporting's half, the midfielder – who has recorded 13 assists in all competitions this season – played a superbly weighted pass over the top of Benfica's defence, straight into the path of Camacho. The winger got a shot off, but it flashed wide of the right-hand upright.

38th minute – In what quickly became a scrappy encounter, Fernandes struggled to stamp his quality on proceedings again until seven minutes before half-time, when he picked out Yannick Bolasie with a pass. The Everton loanee was unable to beat Odisseas Vlachodimos, though.

43rd minute – The build up to this match was all about Fernandes and it seems Benfica's players were in no mood to let it be the Bruno show. He was clattered into by Franco Cervi as the visitors started to give their rivals' captain some rough treatment.

46th to 50th minute – Friday's encounter had to be paused for five minutes, as a section of Sporting fans threw smoke bombs onto the pitch and set fires in the stands. Fortunately, the stewards got them under control as quickly as possible.

58th minute – Once the match had restarted, Benfica began targeting Fernandes once more, with Chiquinho receiving a booking for a late lunge which left Sporting's skipper needing treatment on his ankle.

66th minute – Fernandes also proved his worth from set-pieces, with his cross from a corner finding Idrissa Doumbia, who could not direct his header on target.

67th minute – With a point to prove, Fernandes almost picked out Luiz Phellype with an incredible diagonal from far out on the right flank. Unfortunately for Sporting, Vlachodimos got there first.

80th minute – Fernandes can only watch on as Sporting's defence fail to clear their lines not once, but twice, with Benfica substitute Rafa on hand to put the Primeira Liga leaders ahead, though the goal only stood after a long check with VAR.

97th minute – In the seventh minute of 10 added on due to the earlier disruption, Fernandes is forced deep in an attempt to get Sporting on the front foot, but he is quickly crowded out, with his only option a pass out wide to Marcos Acuna.

99th minute – Game over, and is that goodbye Fernandes? Rafa steals the show – and the headlines – of this Lisbon derby, setting himself brilliantly with an expert first touch from Haris Seferovic's pass, before prodding a fantastic finish beyond Luis Maximiano. 

Full-time – The cameras come up close to Fernandes, though he betrays little emotion as he shakes hands with the Benfica players, before heading for the tunnel with his captain's armband unfastened.

Pep Guardiola feels it is pointless rooting for Manchester United at Anfield this weekend given Liverpool's huge advantage over Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp's unbeaten Reds host United - the only side to take points off them in the Premier League this season - on Sunday in a blockbuster encounter that is sure to be of interest to fans across the world.

Those of a City persuasion are in the unenviable position of knowing a victory for their cross-city rivals would be beneficial to Guardiola's side.

Yet, given the Reds would still be 11 points clear with a game in hand if they lose and City beat Crystal Palace at home on Saturday, Guardiola sees little point in even paying attention to how Liverpool are faring.

Asked whether he would be supporting United on Sunday, Guardiola replied: "Being so far away from [Liverpool], I think it's not interesting to look a little bit [at] what Liverpool does.

"It's better to focus on what we can improve for the rest of this season in all competitions, in the Premier League as well, and prepare the next one."

While they have not been able to gain on Liverpool given the relentless pace of Klopp's men, City have enjoyed an upturn in recent weeks, winning nine of their previous 10 games in all competitions.

Guardiola, who is under contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2021, has already stated he would like to stay on next season and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stressed the only way he could depart is if the club sack him.

"Unless they sack me, I'm going to stay another year here," he added.

"I don't have to announce, I have a contract. I'm going to stay, 100 per cent.

"[Unless] they don't like it and say, 'We want to change the manager.' But for sure 100 per cent I'm going to stay here next season, not because we won the last two games, or the last month we are playing a little bit better.

"Even if it was going bad or not qualifying for the Champions League, I'm not going to give up.

"The managers have good moments and bad moments, not all the managers win all the time. In the bad times we can say we are bad because we've lost some games so what can we do to get better? So, it's simple."

Harry Maguire is honoured to have replaced Ashley Young as Manchester United's captain, with the England defender claiming it is a "dream come true".

Young ended his eight-and-a-half-year stay at Old Trafford on Friday, with the England international joining former team-mate Romelu Lukaku and United loanee Alexis Sanchez at Inter.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed in his news conference ahead of United's clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday that Maguire – signed from Leicester City for a world-record fee for a defender in 2019 – will take the armband, despite having only been at the club since August.

Maguire has since expressed his excitement at having taken over as club captain, while former United skipper Wayne Rooney also congratulated the 26-year-old.

"[It's a] dream come true to be named the Man Utd captain," Maguire wrote on his official Twitter account. "Proud moment and a huge honour. Just want to wish Ashley Young all the best at Inter."

Young, meanwhile, penned a heartfelt goodbye to United's staff, players and supporters.

"To Man Utd, you gave me the chance to play with legends, to win trophies, to work under the greatest manager [Alex Ferguson] in history and to be your captain. Thank you for letting me be part of your story for eight-and-a-half years," the 34-year-old, who signed for United from Aston Villa in 2011, tweeted.

"To the United fans, every time I walked on the pitch wearing your shirt I gave you my all. Thank you for your support during the highs and the lows. I leave as one of you, see you again in an away end soon."

Ashley Young will hope for a glorious final chapter to his career with Scudetto-chasing Inter after completing his switch from Manchester United.

The 34-year-old was a part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and he is far from the only Three Lions star to try his hand in Italy's top flight.

Here, we take a look back at some of the famous English names to have sampled Serie A.

David Beckham

United and England great Beckham caused consternation among LA Galaxy fans by joining Milan on loan for the second half of the 2008-09 season. Motivated in part by his Three Lions recall and the need to retain fitness for World Cup qualifying matches, Beckham proved a hit, chipping in with two Serie A goals for the Rossoneri. He returned a year later as South Africa 2010 beckoned, but an Achilles injury ended the dream.

Ashley Cole

A 33-year-old Cole headed to Italy's top-flight following a distinguished Premier League career, so arguably provides a handy parallel for Young. However, a man who once had a solid claim on being the best left-back in world football struggled at Roma, most notably when he was substituted at half-time during a 7-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich with the score 5-0. After 16 appearances over the course of 18 months, Cole was released from his contract in January 2016 and joined LA Galaxy.

Joe Hart

After being jettisoned from Pep Guardiola's first-team plans at Manchester City on the eve of the 2016-17 campaign, Hart needed a quick solution. Torino were his unlikely saviours and the England goalkeeper endeared himself to supporters in Turin over the course of a season-long loan, despite some high-profile errors. It certainly proved a more successful post-City excursion than his subsequent spells at West Ham and Burnley.

Chris Smalling

If Young needs an example of a success story when swapping Old Trafford for Italy, then he need look no further than long-time colleague for club and country Smalling. Deemed surplus to requirements by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the arrival of Harry Maguire, the 30-year-old has been a revelation at Roma, performing superbly across 14 Serie A appearances and scoring twice. Smalling has made such an impression at the Stadio Olimpico that he narrowly missed out in a fan vote for Roma's team of the decade.

Micah Richards

Hart's long-time City team-mate Richards made a loan switch to Fiorentina for the 2014-15 season after falling out of favour with Manuel Pellegrini. The right-back made 19 appearances in all competitions but the injury problems that would force an early retirement aged 31 had already started to take a significant toll.

Paul Gascoigne

The breakout star of the Italia 90 World Cup, Gascoigne's move to Lazio became something of a saga – delayed by 12 months after he damaged knee ligaments launching into a wild challenge on Gary Charles during Tottenham's 1991 FA Cup final victory over Nottingham Forest. Once Gazza arrived in Rome, it was never anything but eventful. His first goal brought pandemonium as he headed a late equaliser in the derby against Roma, with moments of brilliance vying with fitness struggles thereafter. A broken leg suffered in training ruined his final season before joining Rangers in 1995.

David Platt

Platt did not have to contend with Gascoigne's goldfish bowl existence and the goalscoring midfielder carved out a fine career in Serie A. Signed by Bari a year after his breakthrough performances at Italia 90, Platt went on to earn moves to Juventus and then Sampdoria. He won the UEFA Cup at Juve and the Coppa Italia with Samp and, by the time he headed back to England to join Arsenal in 1995, Platt boasted 31 goals from 100 Serie A games.

Paul Ince

Way before Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Young made it cool, Paul Ince was swapping United for Inter in the mid-1990s. For two seasons from 1995-96, Ince starred for a Nerazzurri side during the early stages of its transformation under Massimo Moratti's ownership. He formed an impressive midfield partnership with Nicola Berti and had 10 goals from 54 Serie A outings before returning to the Premier League with Liverpool in 1997.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

Inter have handed Young, 34, a contract until the end of the season, though the deal includes an option for it to be extended by a further year.

The full-back underwent a medical in Milan on Friday and will hope to play an important role in the Nerazzurri's push for the Serie A title – they sit two points adrift of reigning champions Juventus at the midway point.

"Manchester United can confirm that Ashley Young has completed his transfer to Inter," read statement from the Old Trafford club.

"The 34-year-old captain, who joined in 2011, made 261 appearances for the Reds, scoring 19 goals.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Ashley for his many seasons of service and to wish him well for the future."

The former Aston Villa star won four major trophies during his time in Manchester, including the 2012-13 Premier League title.

The England international made 41 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19 but has been used sparingly by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.

Young has played in 12 league games, three Europa League matches and three times in domestic cup competitions.

A full-back for much of the past three seasons, his opportunities for regular first-team football have been limited by the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Brandon Williams as competition for Luke Shaw at left-back.

Young joins former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez under Antonio Conte at Inter and is the third Englishman to play for Inter.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

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