January 13, 2017 / 5:40 AM / in 6 months

Forget form when Manchester United play Liverpool - Mata

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Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford - 27/11/16 Manchester United's Juan Mata gives Wayne Rooney the captains armband Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic

(Reuters) - The momentum gained from Manchester United's nine-game winning streak in all competitions means nothing when they host arch rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, midfielder Juan Mata has said.

After a shaky start to manager Jose Mourinho's tenure, United have dragged themselves into fine form and will hope to arrest their three-game winless run against Liverpool in a bid to narrow the 10-point gap to leaders Chelsea.

"We have a massive game against Liverpool. Nine games in a row but football has no past, you have to live in the present and the present is Liverpool," Mata told British media.

"They are doing very well. They have a very good manager, they have a good squad and are playing good football. They play offensive football and it will be difficult.

"When we play at Old Trafford we need to play strong and play at our best level for these kind of games."

Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v Hull City - EFL Cup Semi Final First Leg - Old Trafford - 10/1/17 Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates scoring their first goal Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic

Mata arrived at United shortly after Alex Ferguson ended his trophy-laden 26-year spell at the club and the Spaniard hopes the 20-times league champions can recapture those glory days under Mourinho.

"When I came, it was after Sir Alex Ferguson, who was the most successful part of this club's history, so it was not easy. But we feel we are getting there," Mata added.

"The last two or three years have not been the best in the history of the club but hopefully the next ones will be very good and hopefully I can be here to live it and to celebrate very important things with this club.

"It is not good to celebrate things too early... We are very happy with what we are doing but there are still months to go and hopefully we can celebrate at the end. Let's see what the season brings for us. But we are in a good way now."

United are sixth in the table on 39 points, five behind second-placed Liverpool after 20 games.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru

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