Carroll on bench, Gerrard and Suarez start

Liverpool’s new signing Andy Carroll has made it to the Liverpool bench for today’s clash with Manchester United at Anfield and could make his eagerly awaited debut. The striker was signed from Newcastle for £35m on deadline day but arrived with an injury that he’s now recovered from. Match fitness is always likely to be an issue after such a long lay-off and it makes sense that he’s eased into his return to action. Luis Suarez starts as does Dirk Kuyt.

Meanwhile the fears that Steven Gerrard might miss today’s game haven’t been realised as the club captain starts. The midfielder is still believed to be some way short of full fitness but his own fight and determination to make this fixture, and the club’s careful handling of him in the days leading up to the game, have ensured he starts a match he looks forward to with as much passion as any of the Liverpool supporters shouting from the stands today.

Gerrard was sent off the last time the two sides met, in the FA Cup third round clash that took place at Old Trafford matter of hours after Kenny Dalglish had returned from a holiday to take the managerial reigns back following the departure of Roy Hodgson.

With Martin Kelly out injured Glen Johnson returns to the right-back position with Fabio Aurelio starting at left-back. Daniel Agger is another injury victim so Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher both start, with Soto Kyrgiakos the only defender on the bench today.

Manchester United are without defenders Ferdinand and Vidic.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi, Meireles, Kuyt, Suarez
Subs: Gulacsi, Kyrgiakos, Poulsen, Spearing, Cole, Ngog, Carroll

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Evra, Brown, Smalling, Rafael, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Scholes, Berbatov, Rooney
Subs: Kuszczak, Fabio Da Silva, O’Shea, Fletcher, Gibson, Hernandez, Obertan