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Other SportsLiverpool v Manchester United - preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Liverpool v Manchester United – preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Strip away the noise and the two teams’ league form is not that dissimilar. Manchester United have taken 12 points from their last six games, Liverpool 14.

Should we expect a close game at Anfield between two expensively assembled squads vying for north west bragging rights?

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Possibly not as the noise contains context. United go into the weekend on the back of a woeful Champions League performance against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford which brought a 1-0 defeat and an early exit from European competition. Chuck into the mix the ongoing uncertainty over Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the club – and the potential ramifications for coach Erik ten Hag – rumours of dressing room dissatisfaction, the lack of a settled line-up with big-name players out of form, and you quickly come to the conclusion that the recent points tally is masking a multitude of issues.

Last Saturday’s 3-0 hammering by Bournemouth was supposed to provoke a midweek reaction against Bayern but United’s weak underbelly was once again exposed.

And if there is one venue at which United will feel vulnerable it is Anfield. It will be raucous and inhospitable, the type of place that players can go under.

It happened in March when Liverpool simply overpowered United, the match ending 7-0 to the home side.

The margin of victory was a one-off, a fluke, something that is unlikely to be repeated. However, that’s not to say United won’t be on the end of a good hiding unless they can find some backbone against a Liverpool side in good form. Discounting the Europa League defeat at Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday – a match in which Jurgen Klopp fielded his youngsters with qualification already secured – Liverpool have lost once in 16 games in all competitions.

They go into the weekend top of the table and there is nothing the red half of Merseyside would like more than to inflict more pain on their Manchester counterparts.

Team News

Darwin Nunez seems set to start for Liverpool with Cody Gakpo ineffective as one of the few senior players that played in Belgium last night. Jarell Quansah has impressed at centre-half in the last two games but it may be Klopp turns to one of his more experienced defenders against United. There’s also a place up for grabs in midfield due to Alexis Mac Allister’s injury. Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo have struggled for consistent form but it may be the former’s greater physicality gets him the shirt.

There was mixed news for Manchester United when Ten Hag spoke at his pre-match press conference. Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial are not available but Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford are fit to play. Captain Bruno Fernandes is suspended while the visitors are also without the injured Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Casemiro, Mason Mount and Christian Eriksen.

Expected line-ups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Szoboszlai, Gravenberch, Jones; Salah, Diaz, Nunez

Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Evans, Varane, Shaw; Amrabat, McTominay; Rashford, Antony, Garnacho; Hojlund

What they said

Jurgen Klopp on last season’s win for his side
“The 7-0 we knew on the day was a freakish result that happens once in life pretty much.
“And if it helps anybody for the next game, it’s the team who lost 7-0 and not the team who won 7-0, that’s another thing. If you take it all out of consideration then we just play a football game against the rival, the historical rival, of Liverpool FC, at home at Anfield.
“That itself must make it a special game and that’s what I want to see from us: a special game. Really understand the situation and give your all – that’s all I need.”

Erik ten Hag on last season’s defeat
“Everyone is highly motivated when you go to Anfield, it’s a great place to go. You know it’s going to be tough but every team, every top footballer, wants that challenge so have to look forward to it.
“We take that [the 7-0] defeat in our memory but you have to learn from it and on Sunday we can prove we have.”

When and how to watch

The match takes place at Anfield with a 1630 (UK time) kick off. It can be watched on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League from 1600 as part of Super Sunday.

Prediction

It’s impossible to look past a Liverpool win. The question may be by how many?
If Liverpool score early, it could be a very long afternoon for Ten Hag and his players. On the flip side, this is the perfect opportunity for United to answer their critics. If the players see it as a no-lose situation it may just bring rewards.
Who am I kidding? Liverpool to win by at least two goals.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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