A potentially season-defining day at Old Trafford – Man United vs. Liverpool Preview

Liverpool make the trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side face an in-form Man United in a vital Premier League encounter.

Man United vs. Liverpool

Sunday, January 15, 2017 – 4:00pm (GMT)
Old Trafford
Premier League
Referee: Michael Oliver

If we were feeling nervous about this game a couple of weeks ago, recent performances suggest Liverpool could have a really tough day at the office this weekend.

There has been a worrying flatness to their performances for a while now, and Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the League Cup was as insipid as we have seen all season.

Key players are missing, but legs look tired and certain squad members are failing to pull their weight. Sadio Mane already feels like a huge loss.

It doesn’t get much tougher than a trip to United to follow up some poor form, especially given the run they are on.

Jose Mourinho’s side have won nine games on the bounce in all competitions, and are now showing signs of mounting at least a top-four challenge.

There are currently five points separating Liverpool in second and United in sixth, but defeat for the Reds would make things look far more precarious.

With Chelsea expected to increase their lead at the top of the table at Leicester City on Saturday, the pressure on Klopp and his players could be immense 24 hours later.

A huge display is needed—they are more than capable of it—as Liverpool look to get a stalling season back on track.

Last season at Old Trafford: Man United 3-1 Liverpool


Classic Meeting

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 14, 2009: The Old Trafford scoreboard records Liverpool's 4-1 demolition of Manchester United after the Premiership match. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have only managed to win five times at Old Trafford in the Premier League—just once there this decade—with three Danny Murphy winners and a 3-0 victory in 2014 accounting for four of them.

The one that truly stands out came on March 14, 2009, when Rafa Benitez’s Reds took on a formidable United side.

Only three points would keep the visitors in the title race, and they produced arguably their best away performance in the league since 1990.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half penalty made life tough for Liverpool, but they showed great maturity to win in the most satisfying circumstances.

Fernando Torres pounced on Nemanja Vidic’s error to equalise—Torres used to give the Serbian a torrid time—before Patrice Evra’s foul on Steven Gerrard allowed the captain to put his side 2-1 up from the spot.

After the break, Vidic was shown a straight red card for hauling down the goal-bound Gerrard, and from that very free-kick, Fabio Aurelio curled home a superb effort in front of the Stretford End.

Just to rub salt into United’s wounds, Andrea Dossena lobbed Edwin van der Sar in the dying seconds, completing a 4-1 win that we will never forget.


Old Trafford

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 16, 2016: Liverpool players during a training session at Old Trafford ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match against Manchester United. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 75,653

Away fans’ pub: Hotel Football


Team News

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Southampton during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The loss of influential players such as Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip has been enormous of late, but all three could feature against United, having trained on Friday.

Neither Henderson or Matip played at all at Southampton in midweek, but Coutinho looked sharp on his return, despite a few wayward shots. The importance of the Brazilian cannot be understated.

Daniel Sturridge could find himself on the bench, following an ineffective showing against Saints, while one of Emre Can and Lucas Leiva should make way, if not both.

Roberto Firmino has been a shadow of his former self in the last month or so, but Klopp is expected to stick with the 25-year-old, despite him looking weary.

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 23, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the second goal against Burton Albion with team-mate Adam Lallana during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at the Pirelli Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Playing him centrally would be a wise decision, with Adam Lallana dropping back into the midfield role where he has shone in 2016/17.

Mourinho is likely to have his first-choice starting lineup available for Sunday’s game, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all key to his team’s chances.

Marcos Rojo is a minor doubt with a muscular injury, with Ibrahimovic recovering from the illness that ruled him out of Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Hull City, in the other League Cup semi-final first-leg tie.

Wayne Rooney hasn’t been a regular this season, but he may well start against Liverpool, as he looks to break Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record.



SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Southampton
Drew 0-0 vs. Plymouth Argyle
Drew 2-2 vs. Sunderland
Won 1-0 vs. Man City
Won 4-1 vs. Stoke

Man United – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Hull
Won 4-0 vs. Reading
Won 2-0 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Middlesbrough
Won 3-1 vs. Sunderland


Klopp’s View

Klopp was coy about whether or not his key players would start, following injury:

“They were all in training yesterday.

“I’ll wait to see how they reacted to training, then we have to make decisions.

“The last game was only two days ago, so we have to wait for the reaction of these players too.

“Of course, they are much closer than before any other game in the last few weeks, so that’s good.”


UK TV Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 8, 2015: A television camera blocks the view of the goal during the FA Cup 6th Round Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man United vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports 1, following Everton‘s clash with Man City at Goodison Park, with coverage starting at 3:30pm and the game kicking off at 4pm.

We will be running our matchday live blog from 3:15pm, with Ben Twelves in the hotseat this weekend. He will be providing you with minute-by-minute updates during the game, and plenty of interesting content before it.

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