This rivalry needs no introduction. Fixtures don’t come bigger than this in the Premier League. Manchester United entertain Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday as we enter round 21 of the Premier League.
Manchester United are flying at the moment as they made it nine wins in as many matches in all competition after a 2-0 win over Hull City in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final. While Jose Mourinho’s men will look to extend their winning streak, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will focus on getting back to winning ways after a disappointing loss against Southampton on Thursday.
Jose Mourinho delivered a mixed news for the United fans ahead of the fixture. United’s top scorer, Ibrahimovic is set to return for the game, whereas Marcos Rojo, who has revived his Manchester United career is a doubt for the match.
Marouane Fellaini has been handed a one-year contract extension while Morgan Schneiderlin is set to depart for
Sadio Mane, Liverpool’s most influential forward will miss the game due to international duty for Senegal for the AFCON cup. Joel Matip and Philippe Coutinho are in contention to be in the squad, however, the latter is likely not to start the match.
The reds will hope for skipper Jordan Henderson's availability as the midfielder was forced off against Sunderland with a heel injury. Loris Karius will make way for Simon Mignolet, with the Belgian likely to return in goal.
When they last
The sides last met in October, producing a tedious 0-0 draw at Anfield. Jose Mourinho was criticized following his “park the bus” strategy against Jurgen Klopp’s men forced a draw in the contest. However, United are in a different kind of form now compared to October. Entering the game with a team in convincing form, the match promises to be a different one than the last draw.
Smalling vs Sturridge
Chris Smalling endured a frustrating start to the season, hampered by injuries and will now start a game in the league due to the absence of Marcus Rojo. England international Daniel Sturridge, who can score a goal out of nothing has scored two goals in the last two premier league appearances. Marking an in-form Sturridge will be a strenuous task for his English counterpart, Smalling.
Ibrahimovic vs Matip
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has arguably been United’s best player this season. The centre-forward would look to continue his scoring form against Liverpool. However, with Joel Matip expected to return for the clash, things won’t be easy for Ibrahimovic as the Cameroon international kept him quiet when they last met.
Manchester United enter the match with their form of the season. The red devils are unbeaten in the last eleven matches, their last defeat coming against Chelsea in late October. United won the last premier league match they played against a struggling West Ham side, winning the match comfortably by 2-0. Their most recent victory came against Hull City, who they beat 2-0 in the first leg of the EFL cup semi-final. Juan Mata and Fellaini were the scorers for the red devils.
Liverpool have made a poor start to the year, winless in the first three games of the year. A lackluster performance saw a frustrating 2-2 draw against Sunderland, while a young Liverpool side played a 0-0 draw against Plymouth in the FA Cup tie, forcing a rematch, only making the month more jampacked for the reds.
A 1-0 loss against Southampton in the first leg of EFL cup semi-final made it worse for Liverpool as they travel to Old Trafford in search for the first win of the year.
Predicted Manchester United line-up (4-2-3-1):
De Gea - Valencia Jones Smalling Darmian - Carrick Herrera - Mata Pogba Mkhitaryan - Ibrahimovic
Predicted Liverpool line-up (4-3-3):
Mignolet - Clyne Matip Lovren Milner - Henderson Wijnaldum Lallana - Sturridge Origi Firmino
Manchester United 1-2 Liverpool
Despite Mane’s absence, Liverpool has enough talent in the forward line to cope without the Senegalese and are likely to continue their free-scoring form. Although United enter the match in form, a close 2-1 victory for Liverpool can be on the cards.