Who: Liverpool vs Manchester United
When: Sunday, January 19th @ 11:30am ET
Line: Liverpool -240 | Draw +375| Manchester United +650
Well, it’s that time of the year again for Manchester United. The last time they visited Anfield, Jose Mourinho was sacked after a crushing loss. But after a resounding 4-0 win over Norwich, perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future is safe…for now.
Even without key players, United proved their utmost attacking potential by carving apart the relegation contenders to get a dominant win. But facing an undefeated Liverpool side looking on course to finish the season as invincibles sit as their most intimidating challenge so far.
A slight encouraging aspect is that the Red Devils are the only side to have taken points off Jurgen Klopp’s men in the Premier League this season. They almost defeated them until a late Adam Lallana strike saved their blushes. Does Solskjaer have Klopp’s number? Probably not.
But he does know how to pull off results on the biggest occasion. If he manages to salvage anything from the Reds’ own fortress, it’ll be the sweetest salvation. However, if things go wrong, a terrible nightmare could unfold for the visitors.
Liverpool Predicted XI
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Fabinho’s back into contention & should be drafted in against United. James Milner & Naby Keita are both injured, while Joel Matip or Dejan Lovren aren’t fully fit to feature either. Expect Klopp to go with the strongest XI possible.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Fred, Matic, Andreas, James, Rashford, Martial
Scott McTominay & Paul Pogba will be missed heavily. Jesse Lingard should recover from his illness, but is unlikely to start while wantaway Ashley Young probably won’t make the team either.
Liverpool vs Manchester United match preview
United aren’t heading into the derby with a rich vein of form. Having just won one game in four(in all competitions), 2020 hasn’t been the kindest for OGS men. Liverpool, meanwhile, have won all the games they’ve placed very comfortably.
Before they can even think about planning attacking transitions, the Red Devils must draw out a plan on how to keep Liverpool from running riot. If you nullify one problem, a dozen others creep up. They’re undefeated in over 50 games at Anfield for a reason.
In order to keep the rapturous atmosphere in check, OGS’ side must frustrate the hosts into making errors. It’ll be a huge day for record signing Harry Maguire, expected to captain them. He must prove his price into leading from the front, making necessary interventions and keeping a tight back-line which can sustain the pressure.
Victor Lindelof might not have been dribbled past a single time this season, but facing off against the league’s best is guaranteed to test that resolve. He must command his defensive line alongside Maguire, making sure either of Salah-Mane-Firmino doesn’t get space to threaten.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s already proven his excellence in big games, but must repeat his heroics at the Etihad in order to keep Mane/Robertson quiet. But arguably the biggest challenge is in store for young Brandon Williams.
The 19-year-old will face Mo Salah AND Trent Alexander-Arnold!! He must maintain peak concentration to keep up with the duo and trifle Liverpool with his no-nonsense defending. Fred & Nemanja Matic must be diligent enough in closing down them midfielders, making interceptions & protecting their backline from being overloaded.
United won’t be getting a bucket load of chances. Whatever they do get cannot get wasted. The front three of Rashford-Martial-James need to deliver when they get the chance & Andreas Pereira must be better with his decision making to create chances.
Marcus Rashford’s struck a peak stride this season. Being involved in more league goals than Salah, Firmino & Mane, he’s often been the redeeming factor for United. The Mancunian-born loves scoring in high-pressure situations. He did put past Alisson at Old Trafford. He’ll look to get into space, trouble with his pace and bomb shots at goal.
Anthony Martial & Dan James are occasionally frustrating due to fluffing their lines in the final third, but can be devastating in swift-breaks. They’ll look to link properly to trouble the Reds, while the Frenchman will try finding the empty spaces to trifle Virgil Van Dijk & co.
Liverpool is naturally going to play their relentless, bombastic attacking style. They’ll dominate the game as well. It’s now up to United to survive the onslaught and be productive on the counter-attack if they’re to halt Liverpool undefeated streak/winning run on Sunday.
As much as I want this to be a positive result for United, I just can’t see it happening. They’re too weak on the road & lacking the proper quality to get a win. I think it’ll be a 2-1 win for Liverpool, keeping their winning run intact.