The Reds visit Old Trafford on Saturday as they go head-to-head in the Premier League against Manchester United. You could say this is one of the biggest games Liverpool have during a season and when the fixtures are announced in the summer the first match you look for, other than the Derby, is Manchester United.
Both teams are battling it out this weekend for second place in the Premier League and with both clubs trading places over the last few games, this match will prove to be a special one.
Over the years this game has been one of the best in Premier League history, and although the last three fixtures have finished level, with two of them being goalless, you can’t help but feel apprehensive but also excited when this fixture gets closer especially when you look back on matches like the 4-1 win at Old Trafford in 2009, Dirk Kuyt’s hat-trick during the 3-1 win at Anfield in 2011 or the 2-0 win in the Europa League round of 16 1st leg in 2016.
In terms of team news, the home side are set to be without Anthony Martial after he picked up a knock that also kept him out of the Crystal Palace game mid-week. As a Liverpool fan I am pleased that he will miss the game as although he isn’t one of the stand out players for Man Utd this season, he is one of the players who can make a difference during the match and it still a big threat and has proven that in past games against us. Looking at their defence, it is not as solid as it used to be and Chris Smalling is likely to start as he has been Man Utd main centre-back this season but his partner is still to be decided with Lindelof partnering him in their game on Monday and Phil Jones being injured.
Looking at our performances over the last few games you can’t help but feel confident, I think Klopp will try and exploit their defence on the counter attack especially with the pace our front three have. I would like to see James Milner in midfield as I think he has put in some good performances of late, is experienced in this fixture having played a few times for us and Manchester City and also forms a good partnership with Jordan Henderson who is likely to start the game on Saturday along with Emre Can. However, I think Klopp is more likely to go with Henderson, Can and Oxlade-Chamberlain as his preferred three in midfield due to the way they have been performing lately with Oxlade-Chamberlain getting back to his best and him being rested against Porto during the week.
It’s obvious that he is going to go with the usual front three of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane up front and with the form they are all in, and I am feeling confident that we will score some goals at the weekend.
In terms of defence I think the likely centre-back pairing is going to be Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, those two formed a great partnership against Newcastle and look more comfortable now that they have played a few games together. Obviously Andy Robertson will be back in at left-back after being rested on Tuesday against Porto but the question is whether he will go with Trent Alexander-Arnold or Joe Gomez at right back. With Gomez completing 90 minutes against Porto after being out for a few weeks with injury I think he may go with Alexander-Arnold just because he has more match fitness and has been playing well and slotted into the team nicely since Gomez has been out.
Jose Mourinho has become a ‘park the bus’ type of manager when he plays against the big teams and looks to focus on defending rather than attacking, especially against us, whether it was when he was manager at Chelsea or in the past few games at Man Utd and the 0-0 draw earlier on in the season proves that so we should be expecting a similar thing this weekend, that’s why I am expecting us to try and hit them on the counter attack.
My predicted starting XI:
Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Article by Lauren Black
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