Liverpool vs. Manchester United PREVIEW
PREVIEW: Liverpool vs. Manchester United
DATE/KO: Sunday 17th January 2021 (16:30GMT)
VENUE: Anfield (No Fans)
COMPETITION: Premier League
CHANNEL: Sky Sports Main Event
OFFICIAL: Paul Tierney
BIG FIGHT FEEL!
Liverpool vs. Manchester United is the biggest match in the league since the pandemic with major title ramifications for both red rivals. As seen above, Man United are 3 points above Liverpool with the same games played but Jurgen Klopp’s men can reclaim the top spot with a win over Solskjaer and co. but ‘The Red Devils’ can extend their lead on The Champions to 6 points with a win.
It has been a long time since a Liverpool vs. United match meant something as huge as this with the two biggest teams in England scrapping it out for the top spot with respective local rivals City and Everton breathing down their necks.
So, can Liverpool defend their inaugural Premier League crown from it’s greatest rival who has returned to reclaim their throne?
Liverpool are one of only two teams we haven’t played in the league since the signing of Bruno Fernandes and considering how influential he has been, that could make a huge difference to the result on Sunday.
However, the last meeting between these two came over a year ago in January of 2020 where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job was yet again on the line. Klopp’s team started well when Virgil Van Dijk rose to head home from a corner to give the Champions elect the lead in the 14th minute. That header set the game up for Liverpool to defend the 1-0 while trying to carefully add to it. United were just not at it and every time they went to counterattack; Liverpool would have answers in the form of Alisson and Van Dijk.
Despite his goal, Virgil did have more of the action where his “contentious” foul on David De Gea was to blame for Roberto Firmino’s goal being disallowed. Liverpool and Man United game having VAR controversies? It had to be.
United chased the 1-0 deficit right up until the 90th before one single Alisson clearance set Mo Salah on his way to making it 2-0 and seal the game and basically the title for Liverpool.
‘The Red Devils’ were poor that day and couldn’t match to Liverpool’s punches but with the team being better equipped and Liverpool being in a rough spell, now is a perfect time for United to face their title rivals.
Man United are at full strength for this top of the table clash with only a single player out through injury, don’t even have to mention who at this point. While United are in far better shape than Liverpool in terms of injuries, Liverpool have benefited from fixtures with their last game happening 9 days before this one against Aston Villa Under 6’s while United have played two games since their last, the team will be more fatigued and could cause issues.
In terms of the actual starting lineup, 4-2-3-1 is the best formation to go with which not only is a more positive way of setting up but helps stack the midfield where this game will be won and lost.
The first debate is the centre back pairing and while the impact of Eric Bailly has been undoubtable, Victor Lindelof could suit this game and how we set up to play deep and hit on the counterattack. With that being said, Lindelof isn’t 100% fit and you can’t deny Bailly of another start after the impact he has made on the team. Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire should be the centre back partnership for this game, without question.
At left back, we need a defensive minded and solid figure to counter Mo Salah so that is why the in-form Luke Shaw gets the nod over new boy Alex Telles.
While Fred and Mctominay will be the midfield two on Sunday, Matic and Pogba worked so well against Burnley and I think their respective experience will be ideal for this game so Fred and Scott can be subs if we need that injection of passion on the hour mark.
The rest of the team writes itself. Martial may not be getting goals or assists but his impact as a strong ball holder is vital to our success especially in this game, so he can go on the left. Marcus Rashford is both in and out of form at the same time, but this is the sort of game you expect the national hero to thrive in, he knows the occasion like no one else. The final two spots go to Bruno and Cavani because Bruno is unmissable in big games and Cavani’s experience of being an elite striker could cause problems for Liverpool’s weakened centre backs.
The full team can be seen below:
Liverpool Team News
The Liverpool community has not let their injury crisis go unnoticed, but their team is depleted, mainly in the defence. The big omissions are Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip which means that Jurgen Klopp doesn’t have a senior centre back at his disposal. Naby Keita, who has failed to make a significant impact since his arrival in 2018, is also out and new signing Diogo Jota won’t be an option either due to his knee injury.
The likely Liverpool lineup is seen below:
In a game like this, predicting is a very dangerous thing to do especially when, like me, you are expecting a 0-0. It will be tight game that no team will coast through but I think predicting a goalless draw would be too risky, so I am going for 1-1 stalemate. I don’t see either team winning this one.
COME ON UNITED!