David Moyes has welcomed Robin van Persie’s declaration that he is happy at Manchester United ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Van Persie’s future has been the subject of much speculation, with rumors that the Dutch striker does not see eye to eye with his manager and will be looking for a transfer in the summer. However, talking to the club’s official matchday program, Van Persie disputed those suggestions and even claimed that he would be willing to extend his contract beyond 2015. Moyes was quick to point out that he feels his own statements on the matter of been vindicated and talked up Van Persie’s partnership with Wayne Rooney, which has been far from effective of late.
“I’ve been telling you that [he’s staying] but you’ve wanted to say or write something different,” he said in his press conference ahead of Sunday’s match. "It’s difficult if you don’t believe what I say. It’s nice of Robin. Robin is happy here and I’m pleased about that.
"I’ve always said we’ve got two outstanding forwards in Wayne and Robin. Both have capabilities of winning games off their own back. They’re both pivotal international players and I think they’re major player. I think they’re the sort of players any side in the world would want in their team. I’m delighted to have both of them and, more importantly, that they both want to be Manchester United players."
Despite his striker’s comments, Moyes still has plenty with which to be concerned. At the same stage last season, Manchester United held a 28 point advantage over Liverpool, but their fierce rivals will arrive at Old Trafford sitting 11 points clear of Moyes’ side in the Premier League table. And the United boss even conceded that Liverpool would be favorites for the clash.
With hopes of a top-four berth now extinguished, Moyes could also have one eye on trying to overturn a 2-0 deficit when Olympiakos visit on Wednesday in the Champions League. His opportunities to rotate have been increased with his squad numbers bolstered in recent days by Nani, Rafael, Jonny Evans and Javier Hernandez all being back in contention.
Liverpool have been boosted on the fitness front as well. It’s been two weeks since the Reds were last in action in a 3-0 win at Southampton and that has provided enough time for Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva to return to full training.
Having won their last four matches in the Premier League, Liverpool now sit in second place. And, despite having played down his side’s title chances, Rodgers believes there is everything to play for in the campaign’s final stretch.
"Of course it's going to be exciting for everyone, these last 10 games," Rodgers said, according to Liverpool’s official website. "We're there on merit. The players deserve to be where they are and their performances count for everything. The words I say don't really matter - it's about them and what they're doing on the field.
"Thus far they've shown we're going to be able to compete. Hopefully we can continue along that route."
Where to watch: The Premier League match will kick off at 9.30 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.