The historic rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool is set to continue as the two teams face each other in the Premier League. At the start of the season, both of them would not have expected to find themselves where they are right now. The Red Devils are second in the table, while the Reds are struggling for a top-four finish.
Last season Ole Gunnar Solskjear’s team narrowly managed to finish in the top four. While Jurgen Klopp’s men ran away with the league title. Manchester United were again expected to settle for a place in the top four. While Liverpool were expected to again challenge for the title.
However, right now the Red Devils are very comfortable in the second position. They are just one win away from a guaranteed Champions League place. As for the Reds they four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. It is also pertinent to mention that both teams started their seasons in a very different fashion as well.
Analysis: Manchester United vs Liverpool
Despite being on the job for almost one and a half years, it is still unclear how Solskjear sets up his team. However, he is getting the job done and that’s what matters the most. In big games, he likes to sit back and hit his opponents with lightning-fast counter-attacks.
Liverpool have often relied upon their pressing and crossing to score goals. But this season that hasn’t worked very well for them. However, they might have a slight advantage over the home side. Jurgen Klopp’s men had one full week to prepare and rest. While Manchester United were involved mid-week in the Europa League.
This extra rest could mean more freshness and the early minutes of the game will be crucial. Liverpool will play with a lot more energy and if the Red Devils fail to deal with it early on, they could be in big trouble. However, if they are able to withstand the storm then they will have a good chance of getting three points.
When and Where ?
Manchester United will host Liverpool at Old Trafford on 02.05.2021 at 9:00 PM (IST).
Team News and Injury Update
Manchester United: Anthony Martial and Phil Jones are the only two players unavailable to Ole Gunnar Solskjear. Apart from these two, he has his full squad to call upon.
Predicted Line Up: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani.
Liverpool: The Reds have been hit hard by injuries this season. The defensive trio of Van Dijk, Gomez, and Matip had already been ruled out for the season. They were joined by their captain Jordan Henderson. Divok Origi, Kelleher, and Phillips are also out injured.
Predicted Line Up: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Milner, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Head to Head stats:
Since losing to Liverpool at home 0-3 in 2014, the Red Devils are unbeaten in their previous 15 home games against Liverpool. However, they have only managed to win once against the Reds in their previous nine encounters.
Both teams have played a total of 234 games. Manchester United have an upper hand winning 89 times, Liverpool have won 77 times and the rest of the 68 games have ended in a stalemate.
While the usual suspects like Fernandes and Rashford will be crucial but Cavani can be the player to make a difference. Jurgen Klopp’s men are struggling defensively. There will be more than usual chances for the Red Devils. With Cavani likely to lead from the front, most of the chances will come to him. If he does not make them count, the Reds will feel they can get something out of the game and they will grow in confidence.
It can be argued that Mo Salah will be the difference-maker for the away side. However, the game will be won and lost in the midfield. Manchester United could try to put more physical pressure on Thiago. This is because he hasn’t been at his best since joining Jurgen Klopp’s team. If he is unable to deal with it will lead to counter-attacks but if he surpasses it Liverpool will be able to create chances.
The 12th Man Prediction: Manchester United 2 vs Liverpool 1
On any other day perhaps the prediction would have been different. However, based on current form the Red Devils are the clear favourites to win the game.