Chris Smalling: Manchester United "really up" for bitter Liverpool clash

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has stated that the Red Devils are "really up" for Sunday's crucial league clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.

Couldn't have more confidence

It has been an excellent start to what was expected to be a difficult week for Jose Mourinho's side, with the 4-0 over Reading and then goals from Juan Mata and Maroaune Fellaini giving them a 2-0 win over Hull City.

That crucial victory in the first-leg of the EFL Cup semi-final was United's ninth consecutive victory and means they remain unbeaten in the last 15 matches in all competitions.

Some will argue the biggest test is still yet to come ahead of Sunday's clash with Jürgen Klopp's side, but Smalling stated that the side couldn't have any more confidence heading into the bitter derby.

“Before facing Reading on Saturday," Smalling told MUTV. "We knew that we had three games in three different competitions."

“We knew that if we could keep the winning run," he stated. "Going then we couldn't have more confidence going into one of the biggest games of the season."

"Everyone is really up for it," the defender stressed. “Now we can switch our attention to that game."

"I think we’ll recover on Wednesday," he admitted. "Then we have a good few days to work on the tactics on how to nullify their threats."

Smalling added: "We know how important this game is at the top end of that table.”

Good to be back

The last few months have proven frustrating for Smalling on a personal level, having been ruled out for two months with a broken toe.

But the defender has returned in some style with Tuesday's win been his fourth consecutive start in the last two weeks, and he stated that he is feeling good and play his part for the side.

“I’m feeling very good,” he said. “It was frustrating earlier this season."

"But I feel fit now," the 27-year-old stressed. "And we have that many games it’s a good time to be back."

Smalling concluded: "Hopefully I can play my part and keep playing.”

Manchester United will take on Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, January 15 with kick-off at 4pm GMT.