Liverpool vs. Man United
Sunday, January 17, 2021 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Premier League (18)
Referee: Paul Tierney
It’s a meeting between the Premier League‘s best home side and its best team on the road, an affair with implications beyond just the 90-minute encounter.
With Liverpool having dropped seven points in their last three top-flight matches, they left the door ajar for those around them to capitalise and they were duly punished.
And with Man United having moved three points ahead of Klopp’s side at the top of the table, now is the time to strike back and leapfrog Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Fortress Anfield will provide a welcome backdrop to the clash in what is a vital game for the Reds to rediscover their ruthless edge, with goals having been in short supply of late.
There is now little room for error in what is an unpredictable season, and the Reds could set the course for a busy and testing month ahead on the right note with a win – which would do the confidence of players and fans alike the world of good.
The champions are named as such for a reason and now is the time to flex that title.
Let’s get into these, Reds.
It’s all about the centre-back situation once more for Liverpool, with all eyes on the fitness of Joel Matip.
If Matip isn’t deemed fit to start, though, it leaves the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips in contention to feature in the XI, while Jordan Henderson could yet reprise his role with United’s pace in mind.
Naby Keita, who has missed the last four games, is not in contention having also missed training in the leadup, with Klopp stressing the need to “put on the brakes” and focus on his long-term fitness.
The Spaniard added another valuable 45 minutes to his tally against Aston Villa last time out and is set to start in midfield, where the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner all vie for a spot.
United, meanwhile, have seen both Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic cast into doubt following their win at Burnley, while a late decision is expected on Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
Possible United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, McTominay; James, Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani
Last 5 at Home to Man United (All Competitions)
Won 2-0 – January 2020 (Van Dijk, Salah)
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)
Did You Know?
A victory in this match would result in the third successive win at Anfield against United, a run which was last replicated in 2011.
The feat has so far been achieved just six times in over 127 years, the longest of which came during the 1970s when both Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley orchestrated seven in a row between them.
With a 67-game unbeaten run on home soil and no doubt with a point to prove, now would be the most opportune time for Klopp’s side to add their name to this list.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Man United – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp noted the impact of Bruno Fernandes at United, having experience him firsthand during the pre-season tour of 2019:
“He’s an outstanding player. Before he joined United, we played against Sporting in the USA on the tour and in that game already you could see, ‘wow!’.
“Obviously everybody knew him but in that game it was the first time my team played against a team he was involved. You could really see he was a difference-maker and that’s what he shows now.
“He is settled, he is a very influential player for United obviously, involved in a lot of things. I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements, which is very important stuff, but he is a linkup in a lot of other situations as well.
“I don’t know him well enough to really judge that but he seems to be a leader as well. So, yeah, a good signing, unfortunately, for United.”
TV & Liveblog Info
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