Liverpool and Man United reconvene for another much-anticipated Premier League encounter on Saturday, with second place up for grabs.
Man United vs. Liverpool
Saturday, March 10, 2018 — 12:30pm (GMT)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Here we go again: the biggest fixture in English football.
This is always a game that fills you with a mix of fear, tension and excitement, regardless of where both the Reds and their biggest rivals are in the league.
As it happens, just two points separate us at present, although quite how United are still second is a mystery.
Their ability to accumulate points despite rarely looking impressive is admirable, but this Liverpool team are superior.
Any Jose Mourinho side is a danger, though, and Liverpool will have to be at their best to leave Old Trafford with a win on Saturday — which would be the Reds’ first there since the 3-0 in 2014.
The front-three must click, the young full-backs need to rise to the occasion and Loris Karius will be under pressure in one of his biggest tests yet for the Reds.
For all United’s faults, they have individual match-winners in Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, and the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard can also be a threat.
Add to that the well-drilled style in which Mourinho has them playing in, and it is clear that it will be a testing 90 minutes for Jurgen Klopp and his players.
It is just one win away to United since that memorable 4-1 triumph in 2008/09 – a repeat of that this weekend would be the stuff dreams are made of.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 0-0 Man United
Captain Jordan Henderson picked up a dead leg at the end of Tuesday’s goalless draw with Porto but he should be fit for the game.
Otherwise, Klopp is again afforded the luxury of having no injuries, with Gini Wijnaldum and Ben Woodburn recovering from illness.
Selection will be the manager’s biggest headache, with Karius likely to have the quartet of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson ahead of him.
Joe Gomez is a more physical option at right-back, and he may be better suited to thwart Sanchez than Alexander-Arnold, but the 20-year-old is not at his sharpest after injury.
Assuming Henderson plays, Emre Can is a certainty to join him in midfield, but the remaining spot will be a toss-up between James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Both are in good form, but Milner’s experience and nous in such big games, especially against a robust United side, makes him favourite to start.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all available, and if they can hit top gear, United’s defence won’t know what’s hit it.
Mourinho is without Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Martial is expected to feature. Marcos Rojo could return.
Last 5 away to Man United (All Competitions)
Man United 1-1 Liverpool – January 15, 2017 (Ibrahimovic; Milner pen)
Man United 1-1 Liverpool – March 17, 2016 (Martial pen; Coutinho)
Man United 3-1 Liverpool – September 12, 2015 ( Blind, Herrera pen, Martial; Benteke)
Man United 3-0 Liverpool – December 14, 2014 (Rooney, Mata, Van Persie)
Man United 0-3 Liverpool – March 16, 2014 (Gerrard pens x2, Suarez)
Did You Know?
Liverpool have only actually won one of the last nine meetings with United.
That was the 2-0 victory at Anfield in the Europa League last-16 in 2015/16, with Daniel Sturridge converting from the penalty spot and Roberto Firmino firing home in the second-half.
Man United – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-2 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Drew 0-0 vs. Sevilla
Won 2-0 vs. Huddersfield
Lost 1-0 vs. Newcastle
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 0-0 vs. Porto
Won 2-0 vs. Newcastle
Won 4-1 vs. West Ham
Won 5-0 vs. Porto
Won 2-0 vs. Southampton
At his pre-match press conference, Klopp spoke of his approach to the game, given Man United‘s likely defensive setup under Mourinho, saying:
“I have no problem with defending. People say we play a specific style, they (United) play a specific style. Everybody makes a big thing of it.
“It’s about winning and there are different ways to win football games.
“We have to defend there with all we have, and not gamble and think we are flying. They are too strong physically and technically (to take for granted).
“It is not a battle of systems or philosophies. I hope when United attack, all my players are involved in defending.
“But over 90 minutes, we want to bring our football on the pitch.
“Counter-pressing against a team like United is unbelievably important.”
TV & Live Blog Info
Unsurprisingly, the match is being televised, with Sky Sports’ coverage starting at 11:30am (GMT). Kick-off is at 12:30pm.
Ben Twelves will be running our matchday live blog from 11:45am, with lots of interesting pre-match content before the game and minute-by-minute updates during it.