Reds face biggest game of the season – Man United vs. Liverpool Preview

23 February 2019
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Liverpool face their most important match of the season on Sunday afternoon, as Jurgen Klopp‘s men visit fierce rivals Man United.


Man United vs. Liverpool

Sunday, February 24, 2019 – 2.05pm (GMT)
Old Trafford
Premier League
Referee: Michael Oliver

It doesn’t get much bigger than this.

English football’s greatest fixture is a special occasion at the best of times but this meeting has extra substance to it.

The Reds visit their bitter adversaries knowing a win will take them three points clear of Man City and act as an enormous mental boost moving forward.

Even a draw is not to be sniffed at, considering their wretched run at Old Trafford, dropped points though it may be.

Liverpool would still jump above City with a point, leaving destiny in their own hands.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Solskjaer) before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have reached the crunch point of the season, with every match feeling significant, and we are about to learn a lot about the belief that exists in this Liverpool squad.

Waiting for them this weekend are a United side reinvigorated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and looking to damage their rivals’ title hopes.

The thought of Liverpool clinching glory is one that will be giving United fans sleepless nights and the players will be chomping at the bit come kickoff.

Klopp must have his team prepared for a cauldron of an atmosphere and a game likely to be as intense as any they have faced in 2018/19.

Win, and it will be one of the Reds’ most significant away results in years. They’re more than capable of it.

This fixture last season: Man United 2-1 Liverpool

 

Team News

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 5, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk returns from suspension after missing Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich, which is a major plus point.

The Dutchman looks set to partner Joel Matip in the continued absence of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren.

There are no other injury concerns, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster are still a way off playing first-team football.

In midfield, Klopp has a selection dilemma, with Fabinho sure to go back into the No.6 role, leaving Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and James Milner battling for two starting berths.

Wijnaldum seems a certainty to start, given his form, but the other three could all make strong cases for featuring from the beginning, too.

Fit-again Xherdan Shaqiri is another option should the manager revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation, but that seems unlikely.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all primed and raring to go, with the two wide men needing to offer more than they did against Bayern.

United could have Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial available, having initially been major doubts, but Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo will all miss out.

 

Last 5 Away to Man United (All Competitions)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 10, 2018: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino retrieves the ball as his side score their first goal to make it 2-1 during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lost 2-1 – March 2018 (Rashford x2; Bailly OG)
Drew 1-1 – January 2017 (Ibrahimovic; Milner pen)
Drew 1-1 – March 2016 (Martial pen; Coutinho)
Lost 3-1 – September 2015 (Blind, Herrera, Martial; Benteke)
Lost 3-0 – December 2014 (Rooney, Mata, Van Persie)

 

Old Trafford

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 28, 2018: A general view of Old Trafford before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 74,994

Away fans’ pubs: Get some cans from a shop.

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Like when we go to Anfield, don’t expect it to reach the hype.

It’s no longer the biggest game in the country, the rivalry is sterile and will never reach the heights of the 1980s where the games were played by men in front of men, as someone famously described the ’85 semi-finals.

Go in, watch an average game that will be a draw or a goal in it either side while people make gestures about plane crashes and others make snide references to Heysel and Hillsborough and then go home despairing at the pathetic state of the modern-day supporter.

And have some more cans.

Answers courtesy of Steve Armstrong (@sarm0161).

 

Did You Know?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 15, 2017: Liverpool's James Milner scores the first goal against Manchester United from the penalty spot during the FA Premier League match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There has only been one draw at Old Trafford in the Premier League between Liverpool and United since 2000.

That came in 2017, when the two sides drew 1-1, after Milner scored a first-half penalty and Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised late in the day.

United have won 12 of the other matches in that time, with Liverpool securing just five victories (2000/01, 01/02, 03/04, 08/09, 13/14).

They did draw 1-1 in the Europa League last 16 in 2016, however.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 19, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern München at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man United – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Chelsea
Lost 2-0 vs. PSG
Won 3-0 vs. Fulham
Won 1-0 vs. Leicester
Drew 2-2 vs. Burnley

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 0-0 vs. Bayern Munich
Won 3-0 vs. Bournemouth
Drew 1-1 vs. West Ham
Drew 1-1 vs. Leicester
Won 4-3 vs. Crystal Palace

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking to the press on Friday, Klopp was under no illusions about the threat United will pose, but also praised his own team:

“It’s a big one. They are in a good moment, physically strong, defend and attack well. Full of confidence.

“We will try everything to get a result there.

“We can’t make the game bigger, we just have to do the best we can do. I know what you have in your minds: for us it’s the worst moment to face United and the best moment for them.

“But it’s not that we go there as a weak opponent. We are a pretty well-organised football team.”

 

TV & Live Blog Info

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, December 21, 2018: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher and former Manchester United player Gary Neville working for Sky Sports before the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man United vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm (GMT), with kickoff at 2.05pm.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville are sure to be on good form, ahead of a game that both will likely be dreading and looking forward to in equal measure.

Chris Williams is in charge of our matchday liveblog from 1.20pm, bringing you the usual pre-match content and regular updates during the match.


This Is Anfield readers can get an exclusive 25% off a NOW TV Sky Sports Day Pass by clicking here and using the promo code ANFIELDNOW.

This will also allow you to watch the League Cup final directly after the game.

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