Manchester United vs Liverpool Build-Up
Manchester United host Liverpool in a huge clash on Sunday. United are winless in their last three Premier League matches but a momentum-building comeback over Atalanta may have restarted United’s season. Liverpool are in outstanding form. They have won all but three matches this season and remain unbeaten in all competitions. One small confidence United can take is Liverpool have drawn two of their last four, conceeding seven in that period. There is certainly a good chance for United to make a statement and beat Liverpool but must be concerned with their own defensive record. Here’s all you need to know:
Teams: Manchester United and Liverpool
Date: Sunday 24th October 2021
KO Time: 16:30 GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Manchester United have a few injury concerns following the 3-2 win over Atalanta. Marcus Rashford and Fred came off with minor injuries and remain doubts for the big clash against Liverpool. Rashford (dead leg) looks the most likely to feature with Fred’s injury seemingly more concerning. Bruno Fernandes is also a doubt with a knock but I don’t doubt he will feature and more than likely start.
Anthony Martial is back in training and may make the bench after missing the last two matches. Raphael Varane remains out and looks likely to miss out until after the November international break.
As for Liverpool, Curtis Jones could make a return in midfield and add further options for Klopp’s midfield. Thiago still remains out and like Varane, should make his return after the November international break.
- Manchester United have not won against Liverpool in the Premier League since 2018, a 2-1 win at Old Trafford courtesy of a Rashford brace.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has only failed to beat two teams in the Premier League, Liverpool and Arsenal.
- Marcus Rashford has a fantastic record against Liverpool. He has netted five goals in his last seven appearances against Liverpool.
- If Liverpool beat Manchester United, it would be the first time since 2002 that Liverpool earn back-to-back wins at Old Trafford.
- Since the start of the 2020/21 season, no United players have combined for more goals (10) than Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester United will go for a counter-attacking team. They know they are currently defensively vulnerable and cannot play expansively in midfield until reinforcements come in. The back four and goalkeeper that started against Atalanta will return against Liverpool. If Fred is fit to play then it is unquesitonable that he starts with McTominay. I cannot see Matic playing in midfield. There’s a chance Pogba plays with McTominay as they did in the FA Cup win last year but I think most United fans would prefer the energy and stability of McFred against Liverpool.
In the attacking areas, if Bruno and Rashford are fit, they start as they are so crucial and will cause problems for Liverpool’s right hand side. I think Sancho starts over Greenwood as he is our most energetic winger and will create chances on the break and in possession. Up front, it’s a question if Ronaldo can do the energetic 90 minutes against Atalanta and Liverpool. Cavani may be preferred to press energetically to begin with but at the end of the day, Ronaldo gets goals and Ole knows it will be whoever scores more, wins.
Liverpool have a different problem to solve. Who to play alongside Henderson and Fabinho? Keita didn’t play very well against Atletico but still got a great goal. Milner is Mr. Reliable but is starting to show is age. Liverpool could pick Oxlade-Chamberlain but he has been hit and miss at times and loses the ball cheaply at points. At the back, three of the back four are guaranteed to start. It’s a question whether Matip or Gomez plays. Matip is more composed but Gomez could be relied upon to stop the counter attacks. I think Matip starts and that will be where United can win the game. Up front, Liverpool’s devastating front three will certainly get at least one goal with the form they are in. All United have to do is limit them as much as possible.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Mane, Firmino
United need to win and have all it takes to win as long as they are compact, energetic and switched on at the back. Liverpool have struggled to break down compact teams at times as we saw against Chelsea but United have to be more aggressive in attack than the Blues were that day. I expect goals and for both sides too. Ole reportedly is still under a lot of pressure and United normally play best when that happens. The win over Atalanta was a confidence booster and a win over Liverpool could be a huge turning point. But even if United turn up and play well, the way Liverpool have been playing, it could still be a draw.
Predicted Score: 3-2 to United