Manchester United and Liverpool are set to renew their rivalries this weekend, as they gear up to clash against each other at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Liverpool will be aiming to continue their perfect start in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign when they make the short trip to Old Trafford to take on arch rivals Manchester United on Super Sunday.
Liverpool have made an amazing start to the new season and are seated comfortably at the top of the table, having won all of their eight fixtures so far, with their most recent game ending in a 2-1 victory over Leicester City. Jurgen Klopp’s men have opened up a five-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City, who have played a game more, meaning a win on Sunday would widen the gap to eight points.
In contrast, Manchester United are tattering in the bottom half of the table, after having won just one of their last five Premier League fixtures. Prior to the international break, the Red Devils succumbed to a shock 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United and currently occupy the 14th spot in the standings and find themselves just a point above the relegation zone.
It is a crunch clash for both the teams as Liverpool will be intent on keeping their winning start intact, while Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be keen on arresting this downslide at the earliest. The fact that Jose Mourinho was sacked last year after the Red Devils were defeated by Liverpool at Anfield will not be lost on the Norwegian.
Ahead of this blockbuster clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Things are not looking bright for Manchester United on the injury front as they will go into the game without a host of key players. Creative linchpin Paul Pogba is ruled out, as is star goalkeeper David de Gea, who picked up an injury on international duty. Luke Shaw is unlikely to recover in time for the game, while Diogo Dalot is also absent.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is down with tonsilitis and a call on his involvement will be taken on matchday. Same goes for Jesse Lingard (thigh), Anthony Martial (thigh) and Phil Jones. Solskjaer’s team selection will be completely dependent on whether the aforementioned players pass their respective late fitness tests.
Sergio Romero is set to step into de Gea’s shoes for Manchester United on Sunday, while Victor Lindelof is likely to return to the starting XI alongside Harry Maguire at the expense of Axel Tuanzebe. Wan-Bissaka should be able to start at right-back, while captain Ashley Young is likely to edge Marcos Rojo out for the left-back slot.
Scott McTominay has been one of the few positives this season for Manchester United and should occupy one of the two midfield pivot positions on Sunday. Fred and Nemanja Matic, both of whom have equally struggled this term, will battle for the second spot, with the former likely to get another opportunity to stake a claim.
Daniel James is a certain starter on the left flank, while Juan Mata should get the nod as the No.10 ahead of Andreas Pereira. Marcus Rashford and Martial are expected to fill up the remaining two attacking slots, with the latter likely to slot in as the centre-forward.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Mata, James; Martial
Liverpool, on the other hand, have very few injury concerns heading into the game with Nathaniel Clyne being the only player to be definitively ruled out. Alisson Becker has been back in full training and should be in contention to start, while Joel Matip is fit again after missing the last two matches.
Adrian has done a solid job of deputizing for Alisson since the first day of the season, but the Spaniard should make way for Liverpool’s No. 1 on Sunday. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are certain starters in defence, while Matip should come back into the team in place of Dejan Lovren, who started the last match.
Fabinho has been exceptional in the holding midfield role for Liverpool and is without question one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet. Captain Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum should occupy the other two midfield slots ahead of James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Mohamed Salah was on the receiving end of a bad challenge against Leicester City which had forced him off the field. However, the Egyptian has recovered well and should take his customary position on the right side of Liverpool’s attack. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will complete the dangerous-looking attack for the Premier League leaders.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Both Teams to Score – NO @ 2.00
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 3.90
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five home league meetings with Liverpool (W3 D2) – their longest run without a defeat against the Merseysiders at Old Trafford since a run of 10 between February 1991 and March 2000.
- Liverpool are one win away from equalling the all-time English top-flight record of 18 consecutive victories, set by Manchester City between August and December 2017.
- Only Manchester City (7) and Chelsea (6) have won more Premier League away games against Manchester United than Liverpool (5).
- Four of the last six Premier League meetings between Manchester United and Liverpool have ended level (one win each) – just four of the previous 36 between the sides had been drawn.
- Since beating Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend, Manchester United have failed to score more than once in any of their last 10 games in all competitions. It is their longest run of failing to score more than once since a run of 13 matches between May – September 2007.
Player to Watch
It has been a difficult start to the 2019-20 season for the England international. Entrusted with the responsibility of being Manchester United’s first-choice centre-forward following Romelu Lukaku’s departure, Rashford has found it hard to live up to the expectations and seems to have lost his confidence in the process.
The Manchester United academy graduate has found the back of the net just three times in 10 matches across all competitions and hasn’t scored in his last five appearances. If the hosts are to put up any sort of fight against Liverpool and stand a chance of pinching a win, they will need Rashford to step up in a big way.
Manchester United 0-2 Liverpool
The fact of the matter is that the goals are simply not coming for Manchester United. They are lacking a creative element in their play in the final third and have been further dented by Marcus Rashford’s poor form, which has contributed towards their dismal results so far. Defensively too, they haven’t looked completely secure either.
Liverpool haven’t exactly been at their free-flowing best at times, but have shown the ability to grind out results. The Premier League leaders have scored the second-highest number of goals this term (20) and have the meanest defence in the competition as well, having conceded just six goals so far.
Liverpool haven’t been able to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on their past six visits (D3 L3), but on current form the hosts stand little chance of coming out on top on Sunday. And as a result, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting a 0-2 win for Jurgen Klopp’s men, extending their perfect start to nine matches.