Liverpool vs. Man United
Sunday, January 19, 2020 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Referee: Craig Pawson
A result which saw Liverpool break the record for the best-ever start to a topflight campaign after 21 games across Europe’s top five leagues.
And now they are out for a spot of revenge as Man United are the only side to have taken points off the Reds this season, with Adam Lallana’s late strike cancelling out Marcus Rashford’s goal back in October.
The Reds are, of course, full of confidence and momentum heading into the encounter having won 12 league games in succession since their last meeting, with Klopp’s men having also been crowned world champions in the meantime.
A number of familiar faces are in line to return for Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a waiting game over one of his key men.
United head into the clash off the back of two consecutive wins and clean sheets in the FA Cup and Premier League respectively, however, they will face an almighty task in stopping a fierce Liverpool outfit who are on a run of 51 league games unbeaten at Anfield.
Liverpool are no doubt favourites for this one and the three points would represent another step towards our target as the Reds will face members of the current top six just a further two times this season.
In a break from recent weeks, Liverpool’s injury news makes for relatively good reading this time around as Klopp prepares to welcome back a host of senior figures.
Both Matip and Fabinho completed a full and “intense” training session earlier in the week alongside their teammates, with the boss revealing the pair are “likely” to be included in the matchday squad.
Lovren, meanwhile, continued his personal sessions as he looks to regain his fitness after sitting on the sidelines since December with a hamstring injury, where a return to “100 percent training” is expected on Monday.
Both Naby Keita and James Milner fell victim to the relentless festive fixture list but are expected to return to the outdoor pitches within the week, but no definitive timeline has been issued over their return to the field.
With another flurry of games which sees five come the way of the Reds in the space of 13 days, the news comes as a major boost for Klopp as he is expected to have a full complement of players to pick from as the days and weeks tick by.
With over a weeks’ rest under their belt following the win at Spurs, Liverpool are likely to make few, if any, changes to that side – with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the most at risk after Adam Lallana’s impressive late cameo.
While Fabinho is one of the first names on the teamsheet when fit, caution could come into play this time around with a place on the bench while Joe Gomez is unlikely to displaced by Matip after a series of strong displays since taking the mantle as Virgil van Dijk‘s partner.
United, meanwhile, are awaiting the verdict on Rashford’s availability after he sustained a back injury in their FA Cup win over Wolves in midweek.
They are already without Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, and Eric Bailly is not expected to be fit for the clash after failing to make an appearance so far this season due to a knee injury.
Last 5 at home to Man United (All Competitions)
Won 3-1 – December 2018 (Mane, Shaqiri x2; Lingard)
Drew 0-0 – October 2017
Drew 0-0 – October 2016
Won 2-0 – March 2016 (Sturridge pen, Firmino)
Lost 1-0 – January 2016 (Rooney)
Did You Know?
It’s a fixture which hasn’t brought too much joy to Liverpool in recent years, with last season’s 3-1 win the only league victory over Man United in 11 attempts (D5 L5).
But the meeting at Anfield presents a multitude of opportunities to add to the joy of Liverpool’s current run of form.
Firstly, this will be the first league game at Anfield since 1990 that Liverpool will start the day top of the table against United.
And a win the way of the Reds will not only see the visitors lose three successive games on Merseyside (which includes Everton) in the topflight for the first time since April 1979, but it will also set another club record of a goal being scored in every one of the first 22 league games.
With a 38 game unbeaten run behind them and 12 consecutive Premier League victories, the Reds are in tip-top shape to add to United’s suffering and propel themselves even further to the holy grail.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Man United – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the importance of the fixture was not lost on the boss as he continued to stress the importance of his side writing their “own history”:
“It’s a very, very important football game. Very important. We have to learn how to deal with games like this in the right manner. We did not do too bad in the past but we can still improve.
“We all know about the importance [of the game] to our supporters, but we play all games for our supporters. Not only these games.
“Liverpool is the natural enemy of some clubs. We have more natural enemies than other clubs have and the reason is our history. But we have to write our own history and that means we have to play games in our own way.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Henry Jackson will be at the helm on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you entertained and providing minute-by-minute updates on all the action, starting from 3.45pm.