| 5.3°C Dublin

Reds battling on two fronts

MANCHESTER United and Liverpool go head to head at Old Trafford on Sunday but the most important action for fans of both clubs is taking place off the pitch.

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is trying desperately to find a way to refinance the club's massive debt in a bid to retain control before the Royal Bank of Scotland calls in loans next month, a move which is sure to find little support on the Kop.

The Glazer family have also been busy in the financial arena and are engaged in equally complicated restructuring of Manchester United's even bigger borrowings, an effort which will be viewed with concern by green and gold protesters.

The bottom line for both Alex Ferguson and Roy Hodgson is that they must both make do with the players they have.

Hodgson put out a virtual reserve team against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa Cup last night as he decided to rest both Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard for Sunday's big clash.

"For us the league is of vital importance and because we've got so many players playing international football we have to give them a break from time to time because I fear by Christmas if we didn't some of them would be burnt out - particularly those that went to the World Cup," said Hodgson after the 4-1 win. "It's great for me to see that the players who came into the side against Steaua can do the job."

Ferguson also had some good news from his reserves when £7.5m summer buy Bebe made his debut in a 4-1 defeat by Aston Villa's second string.

United defender Rio Ferdinand believes his team are close to getting it right.

"There is a frustration with results but not performance," he said. "We have been in commanding positions, so not to come away with six points from those games is disappointing."