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Preview: Liverpool are the benchmark and United are not even close this season. Can they stand up and be counted?

Manchester United -v- Liverpool

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 20 October 2019, KO 16:30 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts; Constantine Hatzidakis Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss

VAR: David Coote Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United will come up against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United faltered against Newcastle United just before the international break in what was a pathetic match against the side beaten 5-0 in the match previous to that one. United made them look like Barcelona, failing to take advantage.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now seen the pressure on his job increase, despite match going supporters not yet booing him or calling for him to be sacked. The pressure only seems to be coming from social media, with factions of these so-called supporters always moaning about something, no matter how small. Solskjaer needs to improve his team massively.

However, it is something that requires patience, not constant moaning just because you feel embarrassed that the club you apparently support is not as good as it once was. This is what happens in football. Dominance is never there for the long haul. It will take time for United to recover and it will get worse before it gets better.

Matches like this should put fire in the bellies of all United players. Over the past six years, feelings like this have started to remove themselves from matches such as this, which was once bigger than the Manchester derby with Liverpool and United being the most successful teams in England. These players need to find it in themselves to perform.

Form: Liverpool in much better form ahead of Premier League encounter. United have lost confidence, misplaced desire, and have no fight about them. Will it change?

Manchester United: LDDWLW

Newcastle United 1-0 L, AZ Alkmaar 0-0 D, Arsenal 1-1 D, Rochdale 1-1 (5-3 pens) W, West Ham United 2-0 L, Astana 1-0 W

Liverpool: WWWWWL

Leicester City 2-1 W, Red Bull Salzburg 4-3 W, Sheffield United 1-0 W, MK Dons 2-0 W, Chelsea 2-1 W, Napoli 2-0 L

Top Scorers: Liverpool have been scoring goals for fun this season, whereas United seem to have absorbed the fun from football so far.

Manchester United: 11 goals scored this season leave United in a position to find answers against the best team in the league this season.

Goals: 3 – Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Scott McTominay

United have been poor from the second match of the season onwards. However, injuries seem to have hit the club hard in what was already a thin squad with lots of inexperience in the team. It is a gamble that has so far not paid off for Solskjaer and his players. More is needed from each of them to get to January, where reinforcements could be made.

Liverpool: 25 goals scored this season so far leave Liverpool the in-form team heading to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday.

Goals: 6 – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, 3 – Roberto Firmino, 2 – James Milner, Joel Matip, 1 – Andrew Robertson, Divock Origi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ki-Jana Hoever, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool are the leaders of the Premier League because they play exciting, expensive football which has an end product – scoring goals with the aim of winning matches. United seem to have lost their direction. Many will be expecting a massive defeat on Sunday, however, things could be different if United were to get players returning from injury.

Team News: David De Gea injury blow but United could be boosted with the return of players who have been missing for some time.

Solskjaer could see his side boosted with the return from injury of Anthony Martial, who has returned to training, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka. However, David De Gea and Paul Pogba have both been ruled out of this match due to injury with the Spanish goalkeeper suffering a muscle unjust whilst playing for Spain and Pogba having an ankle injury.

United have been struggling with injuries since the defeat to Crystal Palace in August which saw Shaw and Martial out of action. Wan-Bissaka has missed the last three matches with Pogba missing the last two. If De Gea is out for any period of time, Sergio Romero will get the chance to show what he can do as the first team goalkeeper.

Liverpool will be without Nathaniel Clyne, a player that does not seem to have a future at the club. Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Mohamed Salah could all be back to face United in a match that will be high-pressured for the Egyptian, who has not scored or assisted in any of the four matches played against United during his time at Liverpool.

Predicted Starting XI: United to see the return of Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Pogba and Martial against Liverpool? I really do hope so.

I have worked on the assumption that Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof (as he played for Sweden on Tuesday), Luke Shaw, and Anthony Martial will all be fit to face Liverpool at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba and David De Gea have both been ruled out by Solskjaer, which is going to be a blow but at least some players should be returning, which is a positive.

Match Prediction: United remain unbeaten in their last five home matches against Liverpool. Can that record continue or will Liverpool be too much for United to handle?

United and Liverpool have played 230 times in the history of both clubs. United has won 88 times, drawn 66 times and lost 76 times. The last defeat came in the reverse fixture last season, a 3-1 defeat which saw Jose Mourinho sacked by the club. In the Old Trafford match last season, United drew 0-0. It might be different this season. Stay positive.

Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool

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