Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho should be dropped to the bench against United, says Aldridge.Reuters

Liverpool favourite John Aldridge has urged Brendan Rodgers to drop Philippe Coutinho for Sunday's clash against Manchester United and replace the Brazilian with Joe Allen.

The Reds travel to Old Trafford 11 points ahead of their arch rivals as they mount their own challenge for the Premier League title. Three points would see them maintain their pursuit of Chelsea and potentially put them clear of Arsenal, who take on Tottenham Hotspur later on in the afternoon.

The exquisite form of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has spearheaded the club's rise this campaign but the contribution of Coutinho has not gone unnoticed. The inventive Brazilian has often occupied the space behind the two strikers to great affect this season but former striker Aldridge believes his club will benefit more from the industrious presence of Allen against David Moyes' side.

"A lot of debate will centre of on the type of team Brendan Rodgers will pick at Old Trafford, I am sure. I think Joe Allen will start, and I can see exactly why, as well," he wrote in the Liverpool Echo.

"You need grafters when you go to places like Old Trafford, and a midfield of Allen, Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard is full of graft. United struggle in central midfield, it is well documented, so I would make that part of the field as strong as possible

"If that means leaving Philippe Coutinho on the bench, then so be it. I think Raheem Sterling has to start, and Coutinho has looked a little jaded in the last couple of games. Mind you, it's not a bad option to have to bring off the bench."

Liverpool beat United 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a Sturridge goal in early September but Moyes' side responded by dumping their rivals out of the Capital One Cup by the same score line later that month.