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Manchester United VS Liverpool - English Premier League, Match Preview

Posted 2021/5/2 9:20:27    

Match Time:5/2/2021 23:30 Sunday  (GMT+8)

English Premier League --  Manchester United   VS   Liverpool

Livescore | Match Prediction & Tips| Asian Handicap Odds|Line-ups& H2H Stats

 

Bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool will renew hostilities on Sunday when English football's two most successful clubs face off at Old Trafford.
The hosts would effectively secure a top-four spot next season with victory over their greatest enemies, while Liverpool have a lot more work to do to clinch Champions League football themselves.

 

Match preview
Always a red-letter day in the English football calendar, Sunday's showdown between these two behemoths could be a particularly significant encounter one way or the other. Liverpool have already been mathematically dethroned as champions, but the coronation of Manchester City could be officially confirmed this weekend, with Liverpool themselves completing the deal. Victory for Man City away to Crystal Palace on Saturday would leave Manchester United needing to avoid defeat in this match to prevent their local rivals from being crowned champions with four games to spare.


City's success is a formality at this stage, and these two sides will instead be focused on the impact this match could have on their respective top-four hopes. Should Man United win then they would end the weekend at least 12 points clear of fifth place with only four games remaining - effectively an unassailable gap given their superior goal difference too - whereas defeat for Liverpool could see them end the weekend eighth in the table and as many as seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea. Removing the grand sense of occasion and focusing purely on the league table, this is undoubtedly a bigger match for Liverpool following back-to-back Premier League draws which saw them fail to seize the initiative in a captivating top-four race. A 1-1 stalemate with Leeds United was shrouded by the Super League shambles which engulfed both of these clubs, and the Reds then followed that up with a profligate point against Newcastle United which saw them suffer a familiar fate as they missed a host of chances before being punished at the other end.

 

Optimists will point out that Liverpool have at least stopped losing; their current five-game unbeaten league run, which consists of three wins and two draws, is their best spell of form so far this calendar year. However, with a four-point gap to Chelsea heading into this weekend, Jurgen Klopp will know that only wins will do and the main frustration will lie in the fact that his side created enough chances to have won the Newcastle game in particular long before Joe Willock's late injury-time equaliser. That result made it 15 points dropped from winning positions for Liverpool this season, a far cry from the 'mentality monsters' who always seemed to get over the line last term and a particularly worrying statistic coming into a game against a Man United side that has rescued 28 points from losing positions in 2020-21 - the third-highest single-season figure in Premier League history. Optimists will point out that Liverpool have at least stopped losing; their current five-game unbeaten league run, which consists of three wins and two draws, is their best spell of form so far this calendar year.

 

However, with a four-point gap to Chelsea heading into this weekend, Jurgen Klopp will know that only wins will do and the main frustration will lie in the fact that his side created enough chances to have won the Newcastle game in particular long before Joe Willock's late injury-time equaliser. That result made it 15 points dropped from winning positions for Liverpool this season, a far cry from the 'mentality monsters' who always seemed to get over the line last term and a particularly worrying statistic coming into a game against a Man United side that has rescued 28 points from losing positions in 2020-21 - the third-highest single-season figure in Premier League history. A 12-point lead over fifth place with five games remaining means that a top-four spot is all but confirmed already, while they also put one foot in the Europa League final with a thumping win over Roma in the first leg of their semi-final on Thursday night. A 6-2 hammering of the Serie A outfit means that it would take a remarkable collapse to keep them out of the Gdansk showpiece, where they look set to face either Villarreal or Arsenal. With Man City's title all but secured, Man United's top-four spot now seemingly just a formality and the second leg of a European semi-final to come, if this was any ordinary fixture Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be tempted to take it a bit more lightly.

 

However, that will not be the case with Liverpool coming to town, and should the Red Devils avoid defeat on Sunday then they would equal their longest unbeaten league run under Solskjaer of 14 games. Not since January 27 have Man United been beaten in the Premier League, and across all competitions it is only one defeat in their last 22 outings since that shock home loss to Sheffield United. That defeat to the Blades was their sixth at Old Trafford in 2020-21, but they have now corrected that form too and welcome Liverpool looking to make it 12 home games unbeaten across all competitions. The last five of those have all ended in victory, while in the Premier League alone they could record five straight home wins for the first time since March 2018. United have every reason to be confident of doing exactly that after hitting Roma for six in midweek, although their most recent league game was a rather drab and low-quality goalless draw with Leeds. Solskjaer had rather boldly claimed that the Leeds showdown would be anything other than a 0-0 draw before that match, but it was Man United's seventh goalless stalemate of the season - their highest tally for 40 years and more than any other club in Europe's top five leagues. Indeed, only in 1980-81 have they been involved in more in a single league campaign, with one of those being the reverse fixture of this match, but despite what the form book says, another point would arguably be a more satisfactory result for Man United than Liverpool this time around given the position both clubs find themselves in.

 

Manchester United Premier League form:
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Manchester United form (all competitions):
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Liverpool Premier League form:
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Liverpool form (all competitions):
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Team News
Manchester United will once again be without the injured Anthony Martial for this match, but long-term absentee Phil Jones is the only other player missing for Solskjaer's side. The United boss must decide how many changes to make with next week's Europa League semi-final second leg in mind, although his side's convincing first-leg win should make his job a little easier and next Thursday's match now looks like a more favourable opportunity to rest players. Edinson Cavani was arguably the standout performer of that win over Roma and should lead the line again this weekend, unless Solskjaer chooses to manage his game time a little more closely than others' due to his age. Mason Greenwood will be pushing for a start after coming off the bench to round off the Roma rout, although his main obstacle is the form of those in front of him. Cavani and Bruno Fernandes both netted twice in midweek and will not want to miss this game, while Marcus Rashford has scored four goals and assisted another in his last four games against Liverpool. There is likely to be a change in goal at least, with Dean Henderson now above David de Gea in the pecking order. There could be a slice of history for Harry Maguire too, with the centre-back set to break a club record by completing 90 minutes in 72 consecutive Premier League games, surpassing Gary Pallister's previous mark. Mohamed Salah will be looking to spoil the occasion for Maguire by making history of his own; his brace at Old Trafford in the FA Cup earlier this season means that he could become only the second Liverpool player - and the first in 100 years - to score away to Man United in two different games in a single season. However, Salah's brace in the FA Cup was ultimately in vain, and his fellow forwards have not enjoyed much luck against Man United in the past - Roberto Firmino has only one goal in 14 matches against them, while Sadio Mane has just one in 11. Diogo Jota will hope to add fresh impetus into that attacking trio once again, and Klopp could opt to name all four in his attack once more on Sunday, having created a slew of chances last weekend.


Nat Phillips remains a major doubt due to a lingering hamstring issue, leaving Fabinho likely to fill in alongside Ozan Kabak at centre-back once again. The Reds have no new injury concerns, but are still without Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Divock Origi.

 

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani

 

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane; Jota

 

Head To Head
This will be the 176th league meeting between these two sides, and Liverpool have had the better of things in recent times with just one loss in their last nine top-flight showdowns and an ongoing five-match unbeaten run - already their longest in the league since a run of seven from December 1989 to October 1992. However, Man United did win the most recent meeting in the FA Cup, running out 3-2 winners at Old Trafford in January to record only their second win in the last 12 editions of this fixture across all competitions. Liverpool have not lost back-to-back games against their bitter rivals since a run of four from 2014 to 2016, while Man United could face Liverpool three times in a season without losing for the first time since 1998-99, having drawn the reverse at Anfield 0-0. The Reds have only won one of their last 15 visits to Old Trafford and are winless in their last eight stretching back to 2014, while Klopp has taken charge of more games away at Man United without winning than he has against any other club in his career.

 

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool

Manchester United VS Liverpool - English Premier League, Match Preview

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