Liverpool welcome league leaders Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday afternoon in the biggest Premier League game of the season to date.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men grew three points clear at the top with a midweek victory over Burnley, while Liverpool had the week off after their FA Cup third round victory over the schoolchildren of Aston Villa.
The winner of this match claims the top spot with the Merseyside club taking the goal difference or United advancing by six points, so let’s preview this crucial clash.
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When is the kick-off? Sunday January 17th
What time is the kick-off? 4.30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Anfield
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports (UK), fuboTV (US)
Arbitrator? Paul tierney
Jurgen Klopp has seen his injury worries allayed in recent weeks with the return of Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri, but they are still light in defense. Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are still unavailable, while Joel Matip is a huge doubt with an adductor problem. Diogo Jota also has a hamstring injury.
Manchester United suffered a triple head injury after beating Burnley with Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in the hamstrings, groin and back respectively. Martial’s woes have since been declared not as bad as first thought, however, and he should be available.
Amad Diallo started training with his new club this week, but he is unlikely to be involved in the draw. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are not yet featured this season and remain on the sidelines, while Facundo Pellestri is still recovering from a positive COVID-19 test.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Rashford, Martial.
The champions have struggled in the league in recent weeks, without a win in their last three matches. They returned to victory against Aston Villa’s academic side in the FA Cup, playing a strong side in the process. Klopp’s side have been unbeaten at Anfield since 2017, with 46 games in their streak.
To combat that streak, Ole’s side have won 11 of their last 12 away games in the Premier League and have won their last three consecutive league games. There was the Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City in the midst of those wins, but their performance was nothing to be ashamed of on the night.
Aston Villa 1-4 Liverpool (8/1)
Southampton 1-0 Liverpool (4/1)
Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool (12/30)
Liverpool 1-1 West Brom (12/27)
Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool (19/12)
Burnley 0-1 Male Utd (12/1)
Male Utd 1-0 Watford (9/1)
Male Utd 0-2 Man City (6/1)
Male Utd 2-1 Aston Villa (1/1)
Male Utd 1-0 Wolves (12/29)
It’s a game between two teams at opposite ends of the form table and yet it’s still a monstrous clash.
Liverpool always seem to show up for big occasions and after losing their place at the top of the division they will be hungry to show that they are still the best team in the country. United will want to prove their position is not wrong and will seek to cause upheaval.
United’s attacking pace – coupled with their midfield’s good form – makes them a real threat to Klopp’s Anfield record, but Solskjaer has yet to win against Liverpool during his reign as manager by Man Utd.
It will be a hotly contested game that could go both ways, with any difference likely to be decided by a moment of magic… or perhaps a penalty.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United