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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Liverpool Vs. Manchester United Match Preview

Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool are poised to make a title challenge because of their forward thinking. The Spanish boss spent a club record £26.5million in the summer to bring Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid. Torres could hardly have wished for a better scoring start in England and aims to improve on his 12-goal tally against Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

He is forming a fine partnership with Holland's Dirk Kuyt - the duo both scored in the crucial Champions League drubbing of Marseille in France in midweek. Benitez can also call on Peter Crouch and Andriy Voronin, not to mention Harry Kewell, who is full of running again after concerns about his form and fitness. ``We have more options up front and more power,'' said the Liverpool boss.

``Torres has pace and can create chances for himself. That makes a big difference. ``I am also pleased with Kuyt because of his understanding with Torres and the way he is working with the midfielders. ``Harry was another big player for us against Marseille. He is training well and playing well. ``I have a lot of confidence in all my players. I do not rotate me teams, just change them when I think it is necessary.''

Benitez is pleased with the progress his side are making as he prepares to meet co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks this weekend. He said: ``We are closer to the other top teams than before as we have eight more points than last season. ``We are also gaining in experience and that brings quality and character to your side. You need those skills when you face a team like United.''

Torres has already embraced the work ethic during his short time on Merseyside. He told ``While it would be really nice to finish up as top scorer, it is more important that Liverpool do really well. ``There are exciting new challenges every day and I am happy with that. ``I had been told long before signing that this club is a living legend, full of history - and it is true.'' Read more...

Scholesy on schedule

Paul Scholes' recovery from a knee operation is on schedule and, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, the midfielder will be able to resume full training in six weeks.

The veteran star has been out of action since suffering cartilage damage ahead of United's Champions League trip to face Dynamo Kyiv.

"He went to see the specialist last week," revealed Sir Alex. "He's going to start straightforward running next week.

"All being well, he'll be back in full training with us in six weeks' time."

If Sir Alex's timeline proves accurate, Scholes could be available for selection when Portsmouth visit Old Trafford on Wednesday, 30 January. Read more...