Always a standout in any Premier League season, Manchester United renews their battle with our rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Two of England’s most successful clubs are both seeking Champions League qualification for next season. A win for us tomorrow would all but secure this whilst damaging our opponents’ chances of a top-four league place.
The showdown between these clubs is always one of the most anticipated games and the outcome of this will be particularly significant for either. With Manchester City’s victory over Crystal Palace in the Saturday lunchtime kickoff, if we were to not get a result against Liverpool, then our neighbours would be crowned league champions.
In retrospect, City’s coronation is all but a formality as both clubs focus their matters on the pitch. If we achieve the three points against our rivals, then we would be 12 points clear of fifth-placed West Ham with only four league games of the season left. This gap, along with our goal difference, should see us clinch a top-four spot and European football once again.
It was a stalemate for us last weekend as we drew 1-1 with Leeds followed by our 6-2 win against Roma in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals. It would take a major catastrophe from us in the second leg to not be there in the final in Gdansk on May 26th.
Clinching That Top Four Spot In The League
If this upcoming fixture was against a team outside the top six, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær might have been tempted to make a few changes. Given the significance of this game and who we are playing, there will be no let-up from the Red Devils. Should we avoid defeat on Sunday, then we would equal our longest unbeaten league run under Solskjær to 14 games.
We have not been beaten in the Premier League since the 27th of January, and in all competitions, we have had only one defeat in our last 22 games following our surprise defeat to Sheffield United at Old Trafford.
That defeat was our sixth at home in the 2020/21 season. However, our form has improved as we are unbeaten in 12 home games across all competitions. The Red Devils will be full of confidence going into this game having hit 6 goals past Roma on Thursday evening.
Liverpool’s defence of the Premier League title has ended in a damp squib. The Reds drew last weekend against Newcastle United as Joe Willock’s goal in injury time denied them all three points. Some will say at least Liverpool have stopped losing matches as they are currently unbeaten in the last five with three wins and two draws. This has been their best form since the turn of the year.
With a seven point gap to fourth-placed Chelsea, they will know that they need to win their remaining league games and hope for others to drop points if they are to achieve Champions League football next season. The Reds created plenty of chances in front of goal but ultimately are failing to convert them.
With the draw against the Magpies, Liverpool have dropped 15 points from winning positions this season. This is a far cry from a side that dominated the league last season. Despite their inconsistent form, they have found some joy playing away from Anfield having won the last five out of seven away games.
Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Details
Teams: Manchester United vs Liverpool
Date: May 2nd, 2020 (Sunday)
KO Time: 16:30 BST
Competition: Premier League
Stadium: Old Trafford
Referee: Michael Oliver
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Jürgen Klopp
Manchester United Team News
We are again without Anthony Martial for this game. Phil Jones is also another long-term absentee. With our victory over Roma, Solskjær must decide how many changes he is going to make to the side for this game. It is now likely players will be rested for the second leg next week.
Edinson Cavani who was superb in our fantastic win on Thursday evening is likely to lead the line against Liverpool. Mason Greenwood will be pushing for a starting berth having come off the bench to score our sixth and round off the victory.
Cavani and Bruno Fernandes will not want to miss this game having both scored twice on Thursday, whilst Marcus Rashford has been involved in five goals in his last four games in all competitions against Liverpool. One change that Solskjær will be making is Dean Henderson coming in to replace David De Gea in goal.
Manchester United vs Liverpool Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked about our opponents and how their season has gone. He said, “I think we all, before this season, had worries how this season is going to go for the players. They have had bad injuries this season. This season has been more different to any other season in modern football. So I am just focused on ourselves. I cannot say anything about Liverpool’s season. I have not really watched them too closely and followed them because I have got my own club and problems and challenges.”
Ole was also asked how important it would be for this big club to be part of the Champions League next season. He said, “Football has turned this way or become this way. One, you fight to win the Premier League; that is the bread and butter. That is the dream, that is what everyone wants, but there’s almost like another trophy: second, third or fourth, because the Champions League is such a massive tournament to be in. You play against the best, there are loads of financial gains by being there.”
“Last season, when we were so far behind, our aim was to get in the top four. Sometimes top four is not even secure. Arsenal and Chelsea could still win their respective tournaments and not be top four, so we have just got to make sure that we are doing our job and getting into the Champions League ourselves.”
Liverpool Team News
For our opponents, they have no new injury concerns to deal with. They are still without the services of Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Divock Origi. A major doubt is centre-back Nat Phillips who is nursing a hamstring injury. This could see Fabinho drop back in the defence alongside Ozan Kabak. Jürgen Klopp could opt to play all of his four attacking players Salah, Mane, Firmino and Jota as he seeks to convert the chances they have been getting in the last few games.
Manchester United Premier League form: WWWWWD
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWWWDW
Liverpool United Premier League form: LWWWDD
Liverpool form (all competitions): WLWDDD
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 15 home games against Liverpool in all competitions (W10 D4), and are unbeaten in their last eight since a 0-3 loss in March 2014. (source: Opta)
- Marcus Rashford has been involved in five goals in his last four games in all competitions for Man Utd against Liverpool at Old Trafford, scoring four and assisting one. (source: Opta)
- Manchester United have avoided defeat in both meetings with Liverpool in all competitions this season (W1 D1) – the last time they faced Liverpool as many as three times in a season without losing any was in 1998-99 (W2 D1), with this the eighth campaign they’ve met more than twice since then. (source: Opta)
Manchester United vs Liverpool Predicted Lineup
Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba, and Cavani.
In the history of this league fixture, a draw looks most likely on paper. Both teams will want to gain an advantage over one another. We will be hoping that the match will be more entertaining than the reverse fixture back in January. Liverpool know they need a win to keep themselves in the hunt for a top-four spot. However, United will be full of confidence after the victory against Roma and know we are nearly there in securing second place in the league.
Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool