Angel di Maria
Angel Di Maria could win first team role back at the expense of Juan Mata Getty

Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes manager Louis van Gaal should select Angel Di Maria ahead of Juan Mata for the pivotal Premier League clash with Liverpool on 22 March.

Liverpool secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Swansea City on 16 March to lift the club to within two points of fourth-placed United.

A win at Anfield will see manager Brendan Rodgers' side leapfrog United into the final Champions League spot with just eight games left to play. But Van Gaal's side will enter the game off the back of what has been widely considered their best performance of the season in their 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Record signing Di Maria missed the game due to suspension, allowing Mata to reclaim his space in the team having not started a game since the beginning of February. The former Chelsea star excelled upon his return to the starting line-up, prompting calls for his inclusion for the visit to Merseyside.

But if Van Gaal is left to decide between Di Maria and Mata, Neville believes there is only one option. Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Neville said: "That's the big decision, Di Maria or Mata.

"I would go with Di Maria for his pace on the counter attack, plus to match the speed of [Alberto] Moreno. That is the only one [change], I think he [Van Gaal] will stick with Daley Blind, he was fantastic on Sunday so I think he will play but Di Maria or Mata is the big question."

Mata was on the scoresheet as United eased to a 3-0 win over their arch-rivals in December 2014 at Old Trafford, a result that opened up a 10-point gap between them and Rodgers's side.

Since that defeat, Liverpool have won 10 of their 13 league games without losing any, with the win at the Liberty Stadium their six consecutive clean sheet on the road.