Liverpool and Manchester United will renew rivalries, albeit with the two teams in a different predicament, as the Red Devils travel to Anfield on Sunday.
Oh how the tides have turned! A Manchester United side that dominated Liverpool and the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson aren’t even shoe-ins for the top four anymore. Liverpool, on the other hand, have surged ahead under Jurgen Klopp and established themselves as a European powerhouse.
Liverpool are undefeated in the Premier League this season and are now outright favourites to win their maiden Premier League title. Still, one niggle remains. Manchester United are the only side to have taken points off of Liverpool this season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be hoping his side are the ones to stop the Reds’ undefeated streak.
Their last meeting at Anfield ended in a 3-1 win for the hosts, with Xherdan Shaqiri coming off the bench to score a brace. It will be interesting to see how the two teams perform on Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner remain on the treatment table. But, Jurgen Klopp has some good news, with the likes of Dejan Lovren, Fabinho and Joel Matip all returning to training. However, the Manchester United game will come too soon for the trio, meaning we are likely to see the continuity of the centre-back pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should reprise their roles on either side of the back four, with Alisson in goal. The full-back duo are responsible for providing the width and genuinely be the creators on the attacking side of the pitch.
In midfield, two out of three positions are locked in, with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum likely to start. The third midfield spot could go to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has impressed since returning from his injury hiatus. The forward line pretty much picks itself, with the trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane likely to assume their usual positions.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
None of the injured players are scheduled to return for the Liverpool game. Eric Bailly is yet to be fully fit and the only other player that has entered the recovery phase is Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who still has a fair way to go before being considered for a start in the first-team for now. Marcus Rashford’s knock has thrown things up in the air in attack.
In defence though, Ashley Young’s departure seems to have given a clearer picture of the back four, with Brandon Williams now the designated first-choice on the left. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, newly appointed captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof should complete the back four. David de Gea will be the goalkeeper for Manchester United.
In midfield, Fred and Nemanja Matic should continue to start in the absence of the likes of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba. Daniel James and Anthony Martial are guaranteed to start in the front four and ideally, Mason Greenwood should accompany them, especially if Rashford is deemed unfit.
The last spot will be a toss-up between Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, with the former likely to be picked as the number 10. Juan Mata is in with a good shout, but is likely to be on the bench, with Solskjaer preferring a pressure-heavy and pace-heavy front four.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Williams; Matic, Fred; Greenwood, Pereira, James; Martial
1. Manchester United Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.700
1. Manchester United Clean Sheet – YES @ 8.00
1. Manchester United are the only team to have taken points off of Liverpool in the 2019-20 Premier League.
2. Manchester United have failed to score at Anfield in 3 of their last 4 visits in all competitions.
3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to lose to Liverpool as a Manchester United manager.
4. Interestingly, among the two teams this season, Marcus Rashford leads the charge with 14 goals in the Premier League. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are at 10, 11 and 7, respectively.
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold has 8 assists to his name. Only Kevin De Bruyne (14) has more in the Premier League this season.
Player to Watch
David de Gea
Marcus Rashford, in all honesty, should be the ideal Player to Watch, with his current form. But, Manchester United go up against a Liverpool side that are sure to create a bucketload of chances on Sunday, given their penchant of playing even higher up at home.
David de Gea has shown consistency in recent matches, something that had alluded him for the past year and half. United may get clear chances at Liverpool’s goal. They may not. But, United’s hopes of getting something at Anfield will rely mostly on the defence and particularly, on the safe hands of David de Gea.
Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United
It’s tough to call it. But, Solskjaer will be wary that his heavily depleted Manchester United side will be no match for Liverpool if they let them play their game. So, the Manchester United manager will look to press high and cover their most creative outlets – their full-backs.
Most likely, we will see a game of contain and absorb from Manchester United, who will look to take advantage of the gap left by the marauding Liverpool left-backs and their high line to hit them on the counter with the pace of Martial and James. But, we are looking at a stalemate by the looks of it.