KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

“We used up all our luck” – Man United expecting Liverpool to ‘breach at will’

Liverpool face a gargantuan league clash with Man United this weekend, but has the luck finally run out for Erik ten Hag’s unconvincing team?

Jurgen Klopp‘s men were dumped out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford last month, so revenge is in the air this weekend.

Liverpool head to Manchester on Sunday for one of their trickiest remaining games in the Premier League title race, with their rivals an unpredictable outfit.

Form can go out of the window in this fixture, and Ten Hag’s side are still battling to get into the Champions League next season, so winning will be a tough ask.

Ahead of a massive occasion down the M62, we spoke to former Morning Star sports editor Kadeem Simmonds (@KadeemSimmonds) to hear about Man United‘s woes, Liverpool’s title charge and plenty more.

 

Since we last spoke in December, have things got better or worse?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 3, 2023: Manchester United's Carlos Henrique Casimiro walks off after being shown a second yellow card and sent off during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Manchester United FC and Galatasaray S.K. at Old Trafford. Galatasaray won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Had you asked before Brentford last week, I would have said things have improved.

Key players had returned from injury, there is an FA Cup semi-final against Coventry to look forward to and momentum was on Man United‘s side.

Now, the team once again looks lost, and while they can’t play worse than they did against Brentford, it’s hard to imagine things getting better when players return.

 

Will Erik ten Hag last the summer?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 3, 2023: Manchester United's manager Erik ten Hag before the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Manchester United FC and Galatasaray S.K. at Old Trafford. Galatasaray won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The theory among United fans at the moment seems to be that defeat to Liverpool, on top of Thursday’s dramatic loss at Chelsea, will be the end of him.

I think results at this point don’t matter, it’s the fact United look like they have no plan A, let alone a plan B – that will be his downfall.

Injuries have played a role, but there is no team shape or cohesion on a week-to-week basis.

Ten Hag has been in charge for 18 months now and the team should have a clear identity, regardless of who plays. Keeping him because there is nobody else to replace him is not a reason to keep a manager.

Other coaches in the world can implement a style that isn’t turgid – look at Ange Postecoglou at Spurs, for example.

 

Who have been United’s best and worst players this season?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 9, 2024: Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For the fact he’s been available all season and looks to have won the battle at right-back, Diogo Dalot gets the nod.

Kobbie Mainoo is the obvious choice since his introduction to the first team in November, but Dalot edges it for me.

In terms of the worst players, no one has been awful.

Marcus Rashford hasn’t been his best, but he hasn’t exactly been helped by having Victor Lindelof play left-back at times and the team looking clueless going forward.

The worst player for me goes to Antony. He has been non-existent this season.

No goal contributions in the Premier League – his FA Cup heroics don’t make up for how lacklustre he has been overall.

 

Who would you ‘like’ to see win the league?

Man City. I don’t want Liverpool to win the league in Jurgen Klopp’s final season, and I’m from London and have loads of friends who are Arsenal fans.

Seeing them lose is great and I can’t have them winning a league before United.

Both clubs were in their banter era a few years back and now look at them!

 

As for Sunday, what is it about this fixture that often means form goes out the window?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates with team-mates after the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 4-3 in extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

United under Ten Hag, especially at home, find a way to turn up and make the game quite ugly and nick a win.

But in general, players do seem to give that bit extra in this game because the ‘bragging rights’ make losing not an option.

 

Where will the key battles take place?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his side's winning second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Between the Liverpool attackers and the United goal.

I expect the Reds to breach United at will, and it’s whether Andre Onana can keep Mohamed Salah and company at bay for 90+ minutes.

It won’t be as hectic as the FA Cup game, and I think we used up all our luck in that match.

 

If you could only have one Liverpool player at United, who would it be and why?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 10, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk. We need a centre-back to play alongside Martinez and there are none better in the league than him.

Plus, I don’t like any other Liverpool players so it was an easy choice!

 

Finally, what’s your prediction?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man United 1-3 Liverpool.