How Rooney could cause Skrtel & Co. nightmares in Anfield showdown

We can expect a mixture of crunching tackles and technical artistry in this north-west derby, as two in-form sides favouring high-intensity football clash in a hugely important fixture. With Louis van Gaal reluctantly evolving his tactical philosophy towards a Ferguson-esque style that includes long balls to the wings and Wayne Rooney as a striker, Liverpool's back three may – like Spurs – struggle to deal with the England skipper.

Van Gaal's recent acceptance of Rooney as a forward is symbolic of a wider trend of progression towards Fergie-like football; recent weeks have seen long passes aimed towards Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young terrorising as a traditional winger from the left, and quick, direct distribution into the final third.

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