Match Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester United

As fun as it is to wear them right now, if you take off your red tinted glasses you’ll see that this game isn’t as cut and dry as many think.

This is potentially the biggest game of Manchester United’s season and they are revelling in the possibility of being party-poopers at Anfield come Sunday.

Over the last 51 games Anfield has been a fortress. 51 sides have come knocking and Jurgen Klopp’s side have sent them all packing with their tails between their legs. At home The Reds have been truly invincible.

United do have form for making the invincible vincible though, after all it was a Manchester United side that put an end to Arsenal’s record breaking unbeaten streak in 2004, as well as shattering Chelsea’s 40 game run under Jose Mourinho in 2005.

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While not anywhere close to the pomp of the Ferguson era, United can still be a threatening, powerful side on their day, as they’ve proven in big games against City, Spurs and Chelsea this season.

The key battles of Sadio Mane up against Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Roberto Firmino dropping deep to pressure a creaking Nemanja Matic and Mo Salah 1-v-1 with Brandon Williams are where the game will be won and lost.

Team News

Liverpool: Two of the stars of the first half of the season, Joel Matip and Fabinho returned to full training at Melwood this week after knee and ankle injuries respectively.

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In his press conference on Friday, Klopp confirmed that he expects Croatian defender Dejan Lovren to return to training in the next day or two.

James Milner and Naby Keita remain on the sidelines with muscle injuries.

Manchester United: The big injury news for Manchester United ahead of Sunday’s clash surrounds their main man Marcus Rashford.

United’s top scorer had to be withdrawn from the recent 1-0 FA cup win over Wolves with an apparent back injury.

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It looks like Rashford might not make the starting lineup come Sunday afternoon but you never know for sure until the teams step out onto the pitch if it’s a red-herring or an actual injury.

United’s troubles extend deeper though, injuries to Axel Tuanzebe, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw have left the Red Devils’ squad bare of options.

Injuries to key midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay will be the biggest misses though.

Pogba hasn’t started a game for United in three and a half months, and hopes of an imminent return after a string of substitute appearances recently were dashed when the want away world cup winner was forced into ankle surgery last week.

Predicted XI

Allison will certainly start in goal in behind a back four of Trent, Robertson, Van Dijk and likely Joe Gomez, who you expect to retain his spot despite Matip’s return to training.

Fabinho also returned to training this week, but except Jordan Henderson to keep his spot considering how well he’s playing right now.

Henderson will likely be partnered in midfield by Gini Wijnaldum, and one of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Old Trafford goalscorer Adam Lallana.

Up top, as always will be Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.

Liverpool: Allison, Alexander Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Firmino

Man United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Fred, Pereira, Greenwood, Martial, James

Danger men

The obvious danger man for The Red Devil’s, should he be passed fit would be Marcus Rashford, the 22 year old attacker has been in red hot form recently.

Three career goals against Liverpool shows he knows how to hit the net against Klopp’s side so him potentially missing out would be a huge blow to United’s attacking potency.

Beyond Rashford, look towards two of United’s young stars to play a part. Expect one of Daniel James or Marcus Greenwood to get the nod.

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James, a star for United at the start of the season has been slowing down somewhat recently but the Welshman still offers frightening pace and his direct running and huge threat from range makes him an obvious danger man.

At only 18 Marcus Greenwood is taking all opportunities afforded to him right now with aplomb.

With finishing drawing comparisons to Premier League great Robin Van Persie and an underrated ability on the ball as a playmaker, expect him to be a threat off the bench or perhaps even from the start if Solsjkaer wants to try what is still an unknown entity in such a huge fixture.

Prediction

Predicting how Liverpool fans will feel come Sunday evening is made all the more difficult by the opposition, Manchester United can look like an exciting project one week to being outplayed by Watford the next.

Despite this, any perceived arrogance by Liverpool fans is duly deserved, Reds fans watch the best football team in the world play week in week out and they, better than anybody know that their side are more than capable of getting a result against any team in the world, especially one managed by the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’.

United’s days as the Premier League’s final boss are over and Liverpool need to show it with a comprehensive victory.

Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

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