Manchester United vs Liverpool Preview

Image result for man utd liverpool
Image from Sky Sports
It’s finally here. Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday where United welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford, hoping to continue our unbeaten record in the league under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. This visit to Old Trafford remains the biggest obstacle left in their path to the league title while United hope to produce another statement win under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and tighten their grip on Top Four. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the big match at Old Trafford...

Key match details
Date: Sunday 24th February
Venue: Old Trafford
Time: 14:05 GMT kick-off
Referee: Michael Oliver

Team News
Solskjaer confirmed in his exclusive MUTV interview that Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial have a chance of returning for Sunday's game after missing the FA Cup win at Chelsea with the injuries they sustained in the Champions League defeat against PSG. Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian have been absent through injury in recent weeks, while Marcos Rojo has been in training but hasn't played since 12 December due to injury. Ashley Young's suspension for yellow cards only applies to the FA Cup, so he is available for selection. Liverpool are likely to be without Dejan Lovren at Old Trafford as the Croatian defender missed Liverpool's draw with Bayern Munich on Tuesday night with Jurgen Klopp stating: “I don’t think he even has a chance.” Liverpool can call upon the services of Virgil Van Dijk again, who was ruled out of their European tie against Bayern through suspension. England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in training for Liverpool but is not yet match fit. Another long-term injury absentee, Joe Gomez, will also not be playing for the visitors with the 21-year-old still recovering from a fractured leg.

How have the teams been faring?
German giants Bayern Munich held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in midweek and Jurgen Klopp’s team currently sit second in the Premier League, although with this game in hand on Manchester City. With the leaders contesting the Carabao Cup final this weekend, Liverpool could seize back control of the league with a win. A loss though, keeps City in their top spot on goal difference with just eleven matches remaining and since losing back-to-back matches against Manchester City and Wolves last month, Klopp’s side has drawn three and won three - not exactly top form.

As for United, first-half headers from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba helped United progress to the Quarter-Finals of the Emirates FA Cup on Monday night, and a win in the league against Jurgen Klopp’s team will make it 11 victories from just 13 games since Solskjaer became manager. Manchester United moved into the top four by beating Fulham 3-0 away from home in our last league outing and another three points this weekend would help United consolidate a place in the Champions League qualification spots with Chelsea and Arsenal chasing the Red Devils. 

History of the Clash
United have met Liverpool on 201 previous occasions, dating back to 1894. We have won 80 games against the Reds, with Liverpool emerging victors 66 times. The last of those matches came back in December, where Liverpool won 3-1, in what was Jose's final game at the club before Ole became caretaker manager. However, we have enjoyed the majority of the encounters in the Premier League, winning 28 times, and losing just 14. Our record at home against our bitter rivals is also particularly impressive, having won 49 of the 95 games played. The most recent of which was a 2-1 triumph last season thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford. Since the start of 2010, United have faced Liverpool 12 times at Old Trafford in all competitions. We have won nine, drawn two and lost just one of those encounters. Liverpool haven’t won at Old Trafford since the infamous 2013-2014 season and just twice home or away in the last nine matches between these two sides.

Michael Oliver Factor
Michael Oliver will officiate United for the third time this season on Sunday. He officiated the 3-1 defeat to West Ham back in September, he also oversaw Ole’s first game as caretaker manager, which was the 5-1 win over Cardiff City in December. Oliver has also officiated this particular fixture twice before - our 3-1 win in 2015 and a 1-1 draw in 2017. Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett will be his assistant referees on Sunday, with Andre Marriner acting as the fourth official.

Predicted Line-Up
Other than the doubts to Lingard and Martial, the rest of the squad largely picks itself.
Klopp is likely to shuffle his defence and possibly midfield. He could deploy Fabinho in central defense to replace Lovren, as he did Tuesday in the Champions League. Or, if Klopp prefers to keep Fabinho in midfield, Joel Matip is another option at the back. The rest of the team also has predictable choices.

Anything Else Worth Knowing
Alongside seven Premier League fixtures this weekend, Chelsea and Manchester City will contest the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, with Man City set to inflict further hurt on Sarri's debut season.

Manchester United Predicted XI:
De Gea, Young (c), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Rashford, Lukaku

Liverpool Predicted XI:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Predicted Score
This is going to be a tricky game but I expect Ole to extend his number of wins from it. I will go for a 3-1 win in favour of Manchester United.

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