England’s two most successful clubs are set to clash in one of the country’s most heated rivalries, but Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjr has been relieved of some of the pressure after his team came back from 2-0 down at home to beat Atalanta in midweek European action.United however, still have a long way to go if a title challenge is to materialize, having gone winless in their last three Premier League (PL) games (D1, L2).
Even Old Trafford is showing signs of wear, with the ‘Red Devils’ picking up only eight points in their last seven home Premier League matches and failing to keep a clean sheet in their last nine home league games (W4, D2, L3) – their longest such run since February 1971!
This includes a 4-2 loss to Liverpool in May, which extended their losing streak to just one win in ten previous Premier League matches against their fierce rivals (D6, L3).Liverpool will be looking for back-to-back league wins at Old Trafford for the first time since January 2002, with Jürgen Klopp’s men buoyed by a 3-2 win over Spanish champions Atlético Madrid in midweek.
Liverpool are currently 18 league games unbeaten (W13, D5), the longest such streak in England’s top four divisions, and they are doing so in style, having scored 22 goals so far this season.
The Merseysiders have been on a tear away from home recently, scoring three or more goals in four of their last five Premier League games.
In fact, the ‘Reds’ have only lost two of their last 21 Premier League away games (W12, D7), a record that sees them travel to Old Trafford as favourites as their title challenge gathers steam.
Players to watch
With four goals in eight appearances, Marcus Rashford is second only to Wayne Rooney in Premier League goals scored against Liverpool by a United player.
Mohamed Salah, on the other hand, is attempting to become the first Liverpool player to score in three consecutive away games against Manchester United.
Liverpool have gone 25 Premier League games without losing to teams whose names end in “United” (W18, D7).
Fred was forced off near the end of Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Atalanta on Wednesday and is a major doubt for the match against Liverpool.
Marcus Rashford also limped off and will be evaluated after returning from a long-term injury.
Bruno Fernandes reportedly did not train on Thursday and is a surprise doubt for the match against Liverpool.
In Fernandes’ absence, Jesse Lingard would either start or a 4-3-3 formation would be used.
If Fred and Rashford are unable to recover in time, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho are on standby, though it would not be surprising to see Nemanja Matic play in midfield as well.
Thiago is unlikely to be able to play against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Fabinho will return to the starting lineup after only appearing on the bench in midweek.
James Milner has had a fantastic start to the season and looks set to keep his place in midfield.
Naby Keita scored a brilliant goal against Atletico, but he didn’t shine defensively and may be relegated to the bench here.
After scoring a hat-trick last weekend, Roberto Firmino should retain his starting spot ahead of Diogo Jota.
In their last five away games, Liverpool has scored at least three goals (Premier League).
Liverpool is unbeaten in their last 18 games (Premier League).
Over 2.5 goals have been scored in each of Liverpool’s last seven away games (Premier League).
Liverpool has won both half-time and full-time in 5 of their last 7 away games (Premier League).
Manchester United will be buoyed by their latest comeback victory, a 3-2 victory over Atalanta after falling behind 2-0.
However, there were significant concerns about the performance, particularly in the first half against an Atalanta side missing several first-team players.
United created a lot of good chances, and the players at least demonstrated that they are still fighting for the manager.
Knowing how his side is attacking at the moment, especially through the in-form Mo Salah, Jurgen Klopp would have taken great pleasure from aspects of United’s performance in midweek.
Liverpool won a five-goal thriller in midweek and are now unbeaten in 21 games, their longest run since Sir Kenny Dalglish took over in 1989.
Liverpool has scored at least three goals in each of their seven away games this season, and they put four past United at Old Trafford last season.
United will no doubt be pumped up from midweek, but Liverpool can put them to the sword in a way that Atalanta couldn’t.
Over 1.5 goals are expected to be scored.
Where to Watch
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