Premier League 2016/17
Monday 17th October 2016 – KO 20:00 [Live on Sky Sports]
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett and Stephen Child
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson
Manchester United find themselves playing another big match after the two-week international break, much like last month when the first match back was against Manchester City at Old Trafford, with United falling to a 2-1 defeat after a poor first-half performance. United then fell into a three-match losing streak, which was ended against Northampton Town in the EFL Cup, which saw United through to the next round, which will be another Manchester derby at Old Trafford, a second chance for Jose Mourinho’s side to get one over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who on Saturday drew 1-1 with Liverpool’s local rivals Everton. Liverpool started their season well, winning seven out of nine matches in the Premier League and the EFL Cup, losing only to Burnley in the league, drawing against Tottenham Hotspur also. Liverpool is a side in great form having won all of their last five matches in all competitions, which betters United’s form with three wins, a draw and a defeat in their last five. United is, however, in the UEFA Europa League, with Liverpool sitting out European competition, which might suit them ahead of their title challenge, but remember they were not in Europe the last time they thought they were going to win the league either. It can be a poison chalice, plenty of rest, but other teams enjoy a better match fitness level playing two matches a week for much of this part of the season.
United are undefeated against Liverpool in the Premier League for the last two season’s, which ended the poor form against North West rivals under David Moyes, with Liverpool doing the double over United in the first season post-Sir Alex Ferguson. United are only defeated by Liverpool in the Europa League last season, losing and drawing in the two-legged match in the round of 16 of last season’s tournament, which saw Liverpool reach the final, only to be beaten by Sevilla, the winner’s of the competition over the last three years, five times in just over a decade. United will be looking to put their season back on track on Monday night at Anfield, hoping to take advantage of slip-ups by Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, which could see United climb to within three points of the Premier League summit, having played eight matches, which shows the blip earlier in the season may not have been all that costly. A win against Stoke City in their last match would have, of course, made their league position a bit better, but you cannot change the past.
Jose Mourinho will be looking to ensure he does not make the mistake he did against Manchester City after an international break, as they will set the media and the fickle fans off 0 last time #MourinhoOut started to trend on Twitter, from the fans that you know, cannot accept anything other than a win. Football is a game with winner’s and losers, it is how you come back from a defeat which is what matters, those that only want to see United win and turn their backs when they don’t, need not support this club. If you cannot support United when they lose, why should you be around to support them when they win! This summer, Mourinho brought in some great players, three of whom have settled and have been performing; Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been big figures so far this season. Paul Pogba has glinted at times, but shone in the victory over Leicester City, something he needs to do a big more. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a player yet to shine. Injury and the fact he has been eased into the Premier League are the main reasons for this. His latest injury in effect happened in the last international break in September, he played 45 minutes against Manchester City and was not seen again. He is now fit, along with Luke Shaw, so could feature against Liverpool.
Mourinho only has Phil Jones on the sidelines through injury, shock horror. Jürgen Klopp, on the other hand, has a few more players to worry about with Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Sheyi Ojo, Joe Gomez all on the sidelines, some doubts for the clash with United. United will need to keep their heads at Anfield, it will be a lively match, a match with plenty of pent-up aggression, players with a point to prove and hopefully go on to do just that. Liverpool is a team which is beatable, but in their current form, they will be dangerous to play against. I am not saying they are title contenders just yet, as this will be the eighth match of the season, but the early signs look good for the Scouse side and providing that form continues, they could well be in it to win it this season, more than 26 years after their last league title. United will be looking to mount a challenge. Beating Liverpool will be intrinsic to that, though. October is a busy month for Mourinho’s side with Fenerbahçe heading to Old Trafford in the Europa League on Thursday, a visit to Chelsea on Sunday, the Manchester derby in the EFL Cup the following Wednesday, then the visit of Burnley to Old Trafford, so far the only side to beat Liverpool this season.
Manchester United Form:- DWWWL
Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-1 W, Northampton Town 3-1 W, Watford 3-1 L
Manchester United need to buck up their ideas if they want to take all three points away from Anfield this season. United started well, scoring goals easily, but that seems to have dried up, showing itself against Leicester City, then making a disappearing act once again. United had 24 shots on goal against Stoke City, they should have won the match, but luck was just not there. It needs to be present and correct at Anfield. United have lost their first major derby this season, losing 2-1 to Manchester City after the last international break, this derby needs to end in a victory with Mourinho getting one over Klopp, which does not seem to be something he has done that often, winning one, drawing one and losing three of five appearances head to head with the German manager. This will be the first time he faced his German counterpart managing United though.
Liverpool Form:- WWWWW
Swansea City 2-1 W, Hull City 5-1 W, Derby County 3-0 W, Chelsea 2-1 W, Leicester City 4-1 W
Liverpool has to be commended for their form this season. They started the Premier League season with a 4-3 victory over Arsenal but then were beaten 2-0 by Burnley a week later. A 5-0 victory over Burton Albion in the EFL Cup then followed, raising the Scouse sides form, but that was quelled slightly with a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Five consecutive wins then followed against Leicester City (4-1), Chelsea (2-1), Derby County (3-0), Hull City (5-1) and Swansea City (2-1) making Liverpool the team to beat this weekend. If United can keep their current form against Liverpool at Anfield, in the league at least, they will do very well against a team who seems able to score plenty of goals, something United started off the season doing well, which seems to have stuttered somewhat, last making an appearance against the fallen champions Leicester City.
Manchester United Top Scorers:
6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Juan Mata, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling
Liverpool Top Scorers:
4 – Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, James Milner, 3 – Adam Lallana, Sadio Mané, 2 – Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge, 1 – Jordan Henderson, Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren
Manchester United Squad;
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee)
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Goalkeepers: Loris Karius, Alex Manninger, Simon Mignolet
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Tiago Ilori, Joël Matip, Connor Randall
Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Marko Grujić, Adam Lallana, Lucas, Emre Can, Cameron Brannagan, Kevin Stewart, Ovie Ejaria, Sheyi Ojo, Pedro Chirivella
Forwards: Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Sadio Mané, Divock Origi, Danny Ings
Injuries and Suspensions: Georginio Wijnaldum (hamstring), Adam Lallana (groin strain), Dejan Lovren (groin strain), Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Sheyi Ojo (back), Joe Gomez (calf/shin)
Predicted Starting XI:
Liverpool 2-3 Manchester United