After hosting Bayern Munich in the Champions League midweek, the Reds travel to Manchester to take on bitter rivals, Manchester United. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) previews what is set to be an explosive fixture.
Who: Manchester United v. Liverpool
When: Sunday, 24 February
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
Time: 2:05 pm
TV: Sky Sports
The Premier League is season is starting to dwindle down to the wire. Each match up is getting more important as each day goes by. Liverpool currently sit second in the table, tied with Manchester City on points but have a game in hand. Sunday’s match up with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United is the most important game that Jurgen Klopp has managed in the early part of 2019.
If Liverpool suffers a defeat, second they will stay as Manchester City are ahead on goal difference. If Liverpool a held to a draw, the gap at the top of the table will close to jsut one point as Manchester City are searching for a second consecutive title. A win puts Liverpool back to three points ahead and the pressure shifts back to the Cityzens as they face West Ham on Wednesday.Embed from Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp’s side thrashed a Jose Mourinho Manchester United 3-1 at Anfield back in December, but that fixture is almost irrelevant now. A resurgence has taken over a struggling Manchester United in the way of Ole Gunnar Skolskjaer. Mourinho’s park the bus tactics have been pushed out of Old Trafford, so Klopp is going to have to make a whole new game plan.
In order to have success against a now offensive Manchester United, Liverpool must take away the channels that feed into Paul Pogba. Pogba has become a reformed player as he is now playing in a more advanced role and can have more time on the ball in the opponent’s box. Liverpool must cut the channels that feed into Pogba, so expect Fabinho or Gini Wijnaldum to closely mark Pogba as he pushes up the pitch.
Fabinho should be making his way back into the midfield as Virgil van Dijk returns to action, so Jordan Henderson will most likely be the man left out. Naby Keita is most likely going to be given another start as he is finally coming into his own in the Premier League. Expect Wijnaldum to be pairing with Keita once again in the midfield.
Naby Keita is going to be playing a rather large role against United on Sunday. His ability to drive at defenders is going to be crucial for creating opportunities for the front three. As United’s central defenders are as quick as a snail, Keita’s recent explosiveness will free up the front three for opportunities on goal. Expect Mo Salah to break Alan Shearer’s record for the fastest to 50 Premier League goals.
Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all still sidelined with injuries.
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the reigns at United, glimpses of a Sir Alex Ferguson United have emerged. The attacking Manchester United is returning back to Old Trafford. After the defeat to Paris Saint Germain a couple of weeks ago, this is Solskjaer’s next big test as United’s manager.
David de Gea is going to be the key for Manchester United to get a result against Liverpool. If de Gea is able to pull out a performance like the one several weeks ago against Spurs, Liverpool are going to be left frustrated on the ride back to Merseyside.
Solskjaer is also very likely to prey on the nerves that are starting to creep into Klopp’s side as the title race is coming down to the wire. Evidence was shown as the Reds failed to convert very pivotal chances against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. United are likely to press Liverpool’s centre-backs into mistakes as they like to play out of the back.
Anthony Martial is expected to make his way back into the team after an injury sustained against PSG, but Jesse Lingard is a complete toss up at this time.
At this point in time, it is a complete toss up as to who could come out on top in this match up. I think that Liverpool may be able to squeak out a 2-1 win.
Let me know what you think about the match up, so tweet me @kidddlogan to have a chat about the match.