AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Liverpool v Man U

It’s easy to overestimate things in football, but there can be no underestimating how big today’s meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United. For Liverpool it could prove to be the ultimate mid-season victory; Manchester City’s draw against Crystal Palace means that a win today would take Liverpool 16 points clear of City at the top of the table– an astonishing lead and one that would take a spectacular collapse to lose.

It would also take them 30 points clear of Manchester United – yes, 30 points – and that there is a 27-point gulf between the two clubs tells us all we need to know about the seasons that the two clubs have had.

Liverpool are flying high and have the advantage of fortress Anfield for today’s encounter. They are unbeaten in 37 matches there and their Premier League record is frankly frightening; If you go to only Premier League games, then they are unbeaten in 49 at Anfield, a run stretching back to April 2017.

We know about their strengths – Mane, Salah, Firmino in the front three, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold as flying fullbacks, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk protecting Alisson in goal, and a whole host of midfielders for all situations, with Jordan Henderson the mainstay.

It all makes for a daunting task for Manchester United, but it’s one they’ve faced upto before and this game shouldn’t be dismissed as over before a ball has been kicked. For all that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had his troubles at Old Trafford, he appears to have mastered the art of the big match performance.

Liverpool v Manchester United
Premier League
Kick Off: 16:30
Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches, Since 2010)
OCT 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool
FEB 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
MAR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
OCT 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United
JAN 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool
OCT 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United
MAR 2016 EUROPA LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool
MAR 2016 EUROPA LEAGUE Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
JAN 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United

Last season United famously beat Paris Saint-Germain and also won at Tottenham whilst drawing against Chelsea and Liverpool, and this season United are the only side to have taken points from Liverpool in the league. Indeed, United could feel aggrieved that they didn’t end Liverpool’s unbeaten record that day, with Adam Lallana’s only goal of the season saving Liverpool a point.

That day United played with 5 at the back, putting Daniel James and Marcus Rashford in fluid roles as wide strikers, whilst using Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young as wing-backs. The use of Wan-Bissaka and Young to engage aggressively with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold was particularly effective until Klopp switched formations and personnel, thus allowing Robertson to find Lallana late on, but United frustrated Liverpool more effectively than most sides have and it’s perhaps worth noting that Solskjaer is the only manager Jürgen Klopp has faced in the Premier League more than once without recording victory.

The big differences today are that Liverpool are at Anfield, and perhaps just as importantly, that United are certainly without Scott McTominay and Marcos Rojo today (both of whom were integral parts of United’s plan at Old Trafford), whilst they are almost certainly going to line up without Marcus Rashford, United’s best striker and the man who makes so much of what Solskjaer does work – he also has scored more opening goals this season (6) than anyone else in the league, and only Mohamed Salah has scored more winners this season.

Liverpool, on all known form, should prove to be too strong for their visitors here but that would have been the case for many a United game against elite rivals, yet they are unbeaten in seven league games against the top eight this season. United are 5/6 with a start of 1.25 on the Asian H’Cap, which would mean we win half our stake back if they can avoid being beaten by two goals or more – a bet that would have paid out in seven of the last eight games between the two sides.

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