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- May 8, 2011
United Under-21s at Liverpool for semi-final - Official Manchester United Website
Manchester United's Under-21s take on Liverpool at Anfield on Friday in a huge play-off clash for the right to meet Manchester City or Chelsea in the final.
The Reds clinched a top-four spot in dramatic fashion as Paddy McNair's injury-time strike earned the three points required from the trip to Reading in the final game of the regular Barclays U21 Premier League programme.
After winning the inaugural competition in 2013, Warren Joyce is keen for his young side to illustrate their progress by emerging victorious on Merseyside in a tie that is being screened live and free-to-air on MUTV and will go to extra time and penalties if required.
"When you're this close, you want to win it," Joyce told ManUtd.com. "We know it's going to be a tough game. I just hope everyone is fit and available and we put on a Manchester United performance."
James Wilson and James Weir have been carrying knocks but both have been vital in the run-in, scoring some crucial goals.
"Wilson came off at Reading because we were just wary of losing him altogether for the rest of the season," explained Joyce. "Hopefully, he will still play a part this season. Weir has done tremendously well but has not trained a great deal between games. Some of them are getting wrapped in cotton wool a little bit as they've had a long, hard season and picked up little niggles from time to time."
The two clubs met in United's opening U21 game of the season when Adnan Januzaj starred for the home side and Fabio Borini, who will play for Sunderland at Old Trafford this weekend, scored twice for Liverpool in a 4-2 victory. Only four of United's 16 players on duty in August appear likely to run out at Anfield - Ben Amos, Guillermo Varela, Charni Ekangamene and unused substitute Joe Rothwell - emphasising the changing nature of the squad this term.