Manchester United will clash with Liverpool in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, the biggest match of the season so far for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is fair to say that United have capitulated more times than they should have recently with the Norwegian having a poor record at the club so far, putting him under pressure.
United have scored more than one goal in a match once this season, the opening league match against Chelsea which saw United win 4-0. United have scored seven goals since that match, playing ten matches which is not good enough. However, United have suffered many injuries, some of which could be over with them ready for fight for the club.
Liverpool will not be a push over at all and they will be seeking to keep their place at the top of the Premier League table, which is assured as they are currently eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City. The bigger the lead, the better their chances of winning the league. However, they have lost big leads before.
United will be reliant on a number of players who could help them gain something from this match. United have played two big matches already this season, beating Chelsea 4-0 and drawing 1-1 with Arsenal. Liverpool have also failed to beat United at Old Trafford in the last five attempts in the league. A record which may be kept or broken. Come on United.
Key Players: United and Liverpool have many players that will be considered key despite the fact Liverpool have the better form and record this season. These players will all stand up.
Manchester United: Sergio Romero, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James, Anthony Martial
Liverpool: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane
Key Battles: Harry Maguire, Scott Mctominay and Anthony Martial lead the key battles against Liverpool with Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk also involved.
Key Battle One: Harry Maguire versus Mohamed Salah
Harry Maguire is a key player for United this season in the fact that he was brought in to help solve the leaky defence. That has not happened so far this season but could have been due to the injuries the club has endured. Eight goals have been conceded in the Premier League. Maguire has a 75% tackle success has made nine interceptions and 31 clearances – 21 of those headed. The 26-year-old averages 68 passes per match.
One Liverpool player that Maguire will need to keep quiet is Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has four goals in eight appearances this season and despite the fact he’s not scored against United whilst playing for Liverpool, he will be out to change that on Sunday. Maguire and his defence partner, Victor Lindelof, will need to be on top of their game to stop United from capitulating once again this season.
Key Battle Two: Scott McTominay versus Fabinho
Scott Mctominay scored United’s last goal which came against Arsenal, two matches ago. He has looked like one of the best options of creativity, desire and determination in the squad recently. Having him at the top of his game will be important. He will be boosted with his two assists for Scotland against San Marino. McTominay has had 13 shots on goal this season, two of them on target. He averages 52 passes per match.
One player that will be a problem for McTominay, both on the offensive and defensively will be Fabinho. The Brazilian is successful in 60% of his tackles this season, winning 39 duels, losing 38, having nine interceptions and seven clearances, one of them headed. Fabinho also has three shots on goal this season, one of them on target. Liverpool are full of confidence, which will only be a bad thing for United.
Key Battle Three: Anthony Martial versus Virgil van Dijk
Anthony Martial has missed the last eight matches in all competitions due to injury. Returning to training this week will be a blessing as United have really missed the Frenchman, who will need to be on top of his game in his first match back, if he starts against Liverpool. Martial has scored two goals this season and has a 38% shooting accuracy, which will need to improve. He’s averaged 22 passes per match, only playing three.
Virgil van Dijk will be the main problem for Martial and United’s other attacking players. The Dutch international has scored one goal this season, so will be a threat for United’s defenders, albeit mostly from set-pieces. Van Dijk has a 67% tackle success, has made 11 interceptions and 42 clearances, 19 of those being headed. His long balls into advanced areas could be problematic too.