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Nemanja Vidic to retain Manchester United captaincy

Nemanja Vidic celebrates his goal against Everton last Saturday
Vidic has captained United in all four league games this season

Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic will remain as Manchester United captain for the rest of the season.

A fit-again Rio Ferdinand led the side in the absence of the rested Vidic in Tuesday's 0-0 Champions League draw against Rangers at Old Trafford.

But United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Vidic, 28, will resume the captaincy for the Premier League visit of Liverpool on Sunday and beyond.

"He started the campaign as captain and it will stay that way," Ferguson said.

Earlier in the week, Ferguson revealed he could no longer consider veterans Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs to lead the team because of their lack of starts this campaign, although the former will remain as club captain for the time being.

"What we wanted was someone who was consistently available for us," added Ferguson.

"Everyone recognises Nemanja Vidic would always be there. He has been fit all season and you don't leave him out of the team unless you are going to rest him."

Ferdinand, who was chosen to succeed John Terry as England captain by manager Fabio Capello, was making his comeback in the midweek stalemate against the Scottish champions from the ankle injury that ruled him out of the summer's World Cup.

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Ferguson praised Ferdinand's performance against Rangers but refused to confirm if the former Leeds defender would start against United's bitter rivals from Merseyside, with the Scot impressed by Jonny Evans's partnership in central defence with Vidic.

Ferguson is set to make wholesale changes to the starting XI that toiled on Tuesday, with the bulk of the side that drew 3-3 at Everton, including left-back Patrice Evra, striker Dimitar Berbatov and Nani, all set for recalls.

Definitely not on Ferguson's team-sheet will be winger Antonio Valencia after he suffered ankle fracture and ligament damage in Tuesday's European opener that is likely to keep him sidelined until February.

Midfielder Michael Carrick is still out with an Achilles problem, while Anderson and Owen Hargreaves continue their recovery from knee injuries - although the latter is nearing a return to competitive action.

Like Ferguson, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will welcome back big-name stars who were rested for their midweek European fixture.

Striker Fernando Torres and midfielder Steven Gerrard, who Hodgson omitted from his squad for the 4-1 Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest at Anfield, both return.

I sound like a parrot but this is the fixture, there is no doubt about that

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Hodgson is hoping for a vastly improved performance from Torres after his mediocre showing in the 0-0 draw at Birmingham last Saturday.

"Let's hope on Sunday we see a great performance from him," Hodgson said after the defeat of the Romanians. "He is Fernando Torres - he is going to have bad games and wonder games.

"As far as I'm concerned you don't swing between wonder and hopeless. Either you are a good player or you are not and he is a very good player.

"But like all good players he will have games where people will say 'We expected more of you, we thought you could have done better' and that was probably the case against Birmingham."

Playmaker Joe Cole's return from a three-match suspension could provide the creative spark they so desperately lacked at St Andrews but Hodgson is not promising a classic on Sunday.

"There is no point in me or Alex [Ferguson] trying to build up the game because it has been built up anyway; all we can do is get on with it and hope our teams are well prepared on the field and our players perform," he said.

Despite Liverpool's struggles in recent seasons, and an unconvincing start to this campaign which has seen them acquire only five points from four matches to leave them in an unflattering 13th position in the table, Ferguson believes the clash of the traditional enemies still retains its lustre.

"I sound like a parrot but this is the fixture," said Ferguson, whose side lie third in the table, four points behind leaders Chelsea.

"There is no question about that. It doesn't change. The form fluctuates quite a bit but we won the last game so hopefully that turns it back towards us again."

Ji-Sung Park's 60th-minute goal earned United a 2-1 win in the most recent encounter between the sides at Old Trafford, although Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield in the reverse fixture last October thanks to goals from Torres and David Ngog.



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see also
Man Utd 3-2 Liverpool
19 Sep 10 |  Premier League
Valencia could return in February
17 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves 'closing in on return'
17 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Hodgson happy after resting stars
16 Sep 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool 4-1 Steaua Bucharest
16 Sep 10 |  Europe
Man Utd 0-0 Rangers
14 Sep 10 |  Europe
Birmingham 0-0 Liverpool
12 Sep 10 |  Premier League
Everton 3-3 Manchester United
11 Sep 10 |  Premier League


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