Manchester United travel to face Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Tuesday evening in a match that Ralf Rangnick’s team will need to win, which will give rivals Manchester City the advantage in the title race this season, or hand it to Liverpool – neither is a good situation.
United beat Norwich City 3-2 at Old Trafford on Saturday with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, his second of the season. United were 2-0 up but Norwich got a goal back at the end of the first half, equalising in the second which resulted in United pushing for a winner and getting it.
Liverpool face City in the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday, winning 3-2 and earning a place in the final this season, where they will face Chelsea. It ended City’s treble dreams with the Premier League and UEFA Champions League still an option for them – Liverpool could win the quadruple.
United found themselves up to fifth in the Premier League this season after both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal lost with West Ham United drawing against Burnley on Sunday. United have been given yet more chances to break into the top four. Beating Liverpool will help that continue to be an option.
Previous meetings with Liverpool and their connections with United.
United and Liverpool have met 59 times in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawn 14 times with Liverpool winning 17 times. United have scored 79 goals, winning five penalties, scoring three. Liverpool have scored 72 goals, winning seven penalties, scoring five.
United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 16. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 113 yellow cards and 10 red cards and Liverpool players being shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. This would be a great match for United to win.
Tom Chorlton, Jackie Sheldon, Tom Miller, Fred Hopkin, Tommy Reid, Ted Savage, Allenby Chilton, Thomas McNulty, Phil Chisnal and Peter Beardsley all played for Liverpool and United before the Premier League was formed. Michael Owen and Paul Ince have also played for both clubs.
Owen won his only Premier League title playing for United, making 52 appearances, scoring 17 goals and three assists for the club. Ince made a total of 207 appearances for United, scoring 22 goals and 16 assists. Neither of the pair are considered legends for United, and rightly so.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Tuesday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea made some good saves to deny Norwich and he will be looking to do well against Liverpool. He is the player that could be the difference between a victory or a defeat on Tuesday night and if it is the former that United gain, it will be well worth it.
United have been underachieving for years now and after lots of hope in the team standing up and being counted, it never seems to happen on the whole. There are some good players at the club but many don’t seem to care about the club, which is not something supporters want to see.
United need players who will die for the cause and not many of them will do that. United is a big pay cheque for them and possible a stage to reach higher achievements De Gea will start more often than Dean Henderson, who might be surplus to requirements next season.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United’s defence is not great as the level of achievement has gone. There are too many frightened players here, including the captain. United need to choose better in the future and let players earn the role. Harry Maguire has been good in stages but he really needs to rid himself of failure.
Phil Jones should start ahead of Victor Lindelöf for this match, bringing in a fresh player to face Liverpool and one who experienced the winning under Sir Alex Ferguson. He might not be at the club next season so deserves some minutes to enjoy what time he has left at United.
Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles should keep their places in the fullback roles. Not that United have much choice right now with Luke Shaw injured and Aaron Wan-Bissaka out of form. United will need to bring in new faces at this stage to better the team. Dalot and Telles are squad players at best.
Midfield: Nemanja Matić, Bruno Fernandes, Jesse Lingard
The midfield is a problem area for United at the moment with both Fred and Scott McTominay out of action. Nemanja Matić could step back into the midfield for this match but his energy will need to be replaced later in the match. That is the main problem at this moment in time.
Bruno Fernandes owes it to United to step up his performances and rid himself of his frustration, for the good of the team. There is little point sulking on the pitch because it is not working – make it work. That is what Ronaldo aimed to do. Fernandes should stand up and be counted.
Jesse Lingard had not played for a while, at least from the start of a match and he did prove himself showing that the faith in him was repaid. However, his decision making needs to be much better. His career at United may be over but he can still get himself in the shop window for a bigger move.
Forwards: Anthony Elanga, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho
United found their way to beating Norwich on Saturday with Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance. At 37 he showed many of his teammates how to dig deep and find a victory from a battle. More of his teammates need to act and play like him. It is an embarrassment how these players act.
Anthony Elanga got his first assist of the season, helping Ronaldo with the first goal of the game. He’s definitely head and shoulders ahead of Marcus Rashford at this time and could enter next season in a much stronger position. He’s definitely a great up and coming player at United.
Jadon Sancho needs to start making the right decisions on the pitch. He should be doing so much better than he is and it is something that he will have to prove for the new manager too. United wanted him for two years, he should show them why they wanted him so much.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelöf, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Juan Mata, Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie Savage; Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho
Rangnick got his substitutions right against Norwich as it gave some more energy on the pitch to push for the victory, which was obtained. However, Liverpool are a much stronger side and despite also playing on Saturday, they have great rotation players to stand in against United.
Dean Henderson will probably be on the bench again with De Gea playing well. In defence, Victor Lindelöf, Raphaël Varane and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could all be called upon. United could well need defensive reinforcement, even if Varane is fit and able to start.
In midfield, Juan Mata, Hannibal Mejbri and Charlie Savage could be available, with the U23’s not playing a match until Friday evening. In attack, Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho could be called upon and Garnacho has a great role model in Ronaldo, especially after Saturday’s match.
Written by John Walker