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Confirmed XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba in United’s attack against Liverpool; Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will travel to Anfield this afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Pogba, Fernandes, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson;

Shaqiri, Thiago, Wijnaldum;

Salah, Firmino, Mane

Substitutes:

Kelleher; R. Williams, Phillips, N. Williams; Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones; Minamino, Origi

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Greenwood, Fernandes and Rashford fired up to face Liverpool; Pogba and McTominay in midfield?

Manchester United will travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

How United have faired against Liverpool in the Premier League.

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has made some massive improvements this season and is part of the reason why United are starting to regain pace in the Premier League. Whilst being at the top of the league means nothing right now, it is the first time that United have looked like the team they used to be post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Granted, United have won trophies under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, but in terms of having a plan, Solskjaer is the manager that has started to put United on the road to winning trophies. De Gea is integral to United achieving things and Dean Henderson’s challenge will only aid that.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence seems to have found some form with Victor Lindelof being on the sidelines through injury which has given Eric Bailly a chance to shine and that is what he has been doing of late. It could give Lindelof a tough task to get back into the squad, at least in a starting position with Bailly;s partnership with Harry Maguire looking good so far. This match will be a test of that partnership though. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles should play in the fullback positions against Liverpool with Wan-Bissaka’s defensive attributes being good and Telles’ attacking credentials being of benefit.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

This is a problem area at this time with so much talent and so far positions in the starting XI. Scott McTominay will be up for the challenge of Liverpool this season, doing well in the last few matches including scoring the quickest brace in the Premier League when United demolished Leeds United before Christmas. Paul Pogba should partner McTominay in midfield as his performance against Burley earlier in the week developed into the second half of the match, which resulted in United scoring the only goal of the game. Both Pogba and McTominay have scored in recent matches now – something both will be seeking to do this weekend.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

This formation has been Solskjaer’s go to formation this season, but there is a chance he might switch things a little to face Liverpool, which in the past has both worked and failed in big matches. Personally, I feel sticking to the same formation would be beneficial, switching it in play if needed. Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have scored a total of 32 goals and 20 assists between them so far this season, which is a good haul of goals and assists, continuing the form of the trio last season. I am sure that all three of them will be seeking to score or assist against Liverpool to keep United at the top of the league.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani, I believe is the best striker at the club at the present time. Granted, he has only scored four goals and two assists this season – six goal contributions but in terms of the positioning on the pitch, he can find spaces that Anthony Martial has not been able to find, helping the Frenchman for the future. Cavani was banned for three matches this season and started against Burnley earlier in the week. Martial was injured and is currently a doubt for the Liverpool match, so based on that I have suggested that Cavani will start. United would do well with his experience and I am sure he will savour the pressure in this big match.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo

United will continue to be able to name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League, using just three of them. In the FA Cup, they are able to use five, which will be the same in the UEFA Europa League when it starts next month, although the remainder of the squad named in the competition will be named on the bench. Against Liverpool, Dean Henderson will be back on the bench, this being a big match so he will be there if needed. In defence, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe could provide something if needed. In midfield, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic’s experience, Daniel James’ pace and Donny van de Beek’s ability in and outside the box could come into play. In attack, Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo could provide something, if they are needed to change the outcome of the game.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Liverpool -v- Manchester United – Premier League – A top of the table clash shows drive, determination and improvement for United

Liverpool -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Anfield, Liverpool

Sunday 17 January 2021, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney  Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Manchester United will travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to take on Liverpool in the Premier League. After beating Burnley earlier in the week, United move to the top of the Premier League table, three points clear of Liverpool ahead of this clash. A victory would see United extend their lead to six points over the current champions with a draw meaning they stay three points clear and a defeat will see United slip back into second-place on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have done well this season to recover from their poor form at the very start of the season.

The ABU’s continue to mock United being at the top of the Premier League table at this moment in time, despite their own team’s failure and those so-called United supporters who do not value Solskjaer seem to suggest that United are only top in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which is incredulous to say the least. United will be seeking to maintain the pressure on Liverpool this season which could become a title race providing that United continue to win their matches. United have not beaten Liverpool since the 10 March 2018 with the club unbeaten at Anfield since 2017.

Manchester United: WWLWWD

Burnley 1-0 W, Watford 1-0 W, Manchester City 2-0 L, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 2-2 D

Liverpool: WLDDWW

Aston Villa 4-1 W, Southampton 1-0 L, Newcastle United 0-0 D, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 7-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals this season for Liverpool with Bruno Fernandes scoring 15 goals for United this season.

Manchester United Goals: 15 – Bruno Fernandes, 14 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Edinson Cavani, Scott McTominay, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, 2 – Daniel James, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have shown some improvement over the last few months, despite starting the month poorly (September, October, November and December) they have ended in fine form. January started well for United as they beat Aston Villa, then were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City, then beating Watford in the Emirates FA Cup and getting a victory over Burnley to top the Premier League ahead of the clash with Liverpool. United will face Fulham after this match, then Liverpool again in the FA Cup before facing Sheffield United and Arsenal to end another busy month for the club.

Liverpool Goals: 17 – Mohamed Salah, 9 – Diogo Jota, Sadio Mané, 5 – Roberto Firmino, 4 – Takumi Minamino, 3 – Curtis Jones, 2 – Georginio Wijnaldum, 1 – Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri, Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have not done as well as they did last season. Injuries have cost them this season, but it is something that can be looked back for any club, especially United over the past ten years or so. There has always been a costly injury at United from Sir Alex Ferguson to David Moyes, to Louis van Gaal, onto Jose Mourinho and now with Solskjaer. However, United seemed to have turned a corner with a solid plan and decent young players coming to the club in order to succeed. Liverpool are hungry to achieve things this season, retaining the Premier League will be an achievement but United and other clubs look hungry too.

Team News: United has four players ruled out with Liverpool having five ruled out. One player is a doubt for Liverpool with United having three doubts.

Phil Jones (knee), Brandon Williams (knock), Facundo Pellistri (coronavirus) and Marcos Rojo (calf) have all been ruled out of the visit to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. Nemanja Matic (groin), Anthony Martial (thigh) and Victor Lindelof (lower back) all have 50% chances of recovering in time to face Liverpool in the top of the table clash in the Premier League. United do have strength in depth this season and will still be able to field a side capable of beating Liverpool is each of the three players with a chance of making the squad are left out of the clash.

Virgil van Dijk (knee), Joe Gomez (knee), Naby Keita (other), Diogo Jota (knee) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (knee) have all been ruled out of the top of the table clash with United on Sunday. Joel Matip (groin/hip/pelvis) has a 50% chance of being available for the clash but will be the subject of a late fitness test. Jurgen Klopp may not have a full squad to take on United, but his side will be determined to continue their form against United and fight their way back to the top of the Premier League once again this season. Injuries have ben costly to Liverpool this season, but every other club has seen them ride their luck for a while now.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood to take on Liverpool and push for glory?

Solskjaer will need to have good tactics against Liverpool as despite their lack of strength at the back at this current time, they are an attacking team and will commit players forward when they can. United will need to be at the best to tackle the problems that Liverpool will look to pile on them. Bruno Fernandes will need to be at the best of his game to take on the reigning champions of the Premier League. Edinson Cavani should lead the line with Anthony Martial coming off the bench if he is indeed passed fit for the match. Cavani should be flanked with Marcus Rashford on the left and Mason Greenwood on the right with Fernandes in behind him. A midfield two of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay could work with a back four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles ahead of David De Gea in goal.

Match Prediction: 57 matches between United and Liverpool in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawing 14 and losing 15 of them.

United and Liverpool have played 57 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 28 of the meetings, drawing 14 and losing 15. United have scored a total of 77 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 63 goals, winning six penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 17 cleans sheets with Liverpool keeping 14. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 103 yellow cards with nine red cards being shown. Liverpool have been shown 88 yellow cards with seven red cards. This is an important match for United – a win will see them six points clear of the reigning champions.

In this match at Anfield last season, which was played on the 19 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk opening the scoring in the 14 minute of the match, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah sealing the win three minutes into added time, assisted by Alisson. In the fixture at Old Trafford, which was played on the 20 October 2019, it was a 1-1 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 36th minute of the match, assisted by Daniel James and Adam Lallana equalising in the 85th minute of the match, assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Manchester United in £27 million pursuit of Liverpool target Thiago Alcantara

Manchester United have reportedly joined Liverpool in the chase for Bayer Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara this summer. The player has already stated his desire to leave the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and the UEFA Champions League holders this summer in a bid for a new challenge. The player wanted to sign for United in the summer of 2013 but was rejected by David Moyes, who clearly had plans to chase the unattainable, rather than signing players that wanted to sign for the club.

Liverpool have been the frontrunners in the chase to sign the Spanish defender this summer but seem to be reluctant to spend the money in the player. Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is expecting a bid for the £27 million rated midfielder in the next few days, as reported by Norwegian journalist, Fredrik A. N. Filtvedt, who works for Dagbladet TV – who states that United are now in the mix to sign the 29-year-old. It could be a blow for Liverpool but it is expected that this could be a move to hurry Liverpool into concluding the prospective deal. Rummenigge was quoted by The Sun as saying:

“We are expecting an offer from another club in the next few days. He told us that at the end of his career, he would like to try something new.”

It has been reported in the last day or so that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already monitoring Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek this summer, a player who has been linked to United in 2020 already. If it was going to be either Van de Beek or Thiago, the 23-year-old Dutchman would be the better option in terms of longevity but if United were interested in signing both, it would be a massive upgrade on the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and perhaps even Fred. Based on that, there could be something in this.

When United were linked to Thiago back in the summer of 2013, it was expected that the former Barcelona midfielder would sign for United. However, it has been suggested that Thiago begged Moyes to sign him that summer, but Moyes had decided that the Spaniard was ‘not the type of player that he wanted‘, which seems to be a very weird thing to say based on the player’s career in Germany since leaving Barcelona. It was a typical Moyes thing to do though, especially in the fact he signed one player that summer and that was not spectacular.

During his career in Germany, Thiago made a total of 235 appearances, scoring 31 goals and 37 assists at the club. The player won seven consecutive Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokal’s, three DFL-Supercups, one FIFA Club World Cup and one UEFA Champions League helping his club win the treble during the 2019/20 season. Based on this, it would show the type of player that Thiago was and how Moyes missed out on him by being David Moyes. It might have been different for United if Moyes had acted differently.

I fully expect Liverpool to end up signing Thiago this summer. These rumours seem to come at times whereby the interested club is not hurrying the deal so things happen to ensure that happens. Journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft does not think that United are being in this instance, so there could well be something in that, although personally, this seems to happen a lot. United do have a good relationship with Bayern Munich though, so I guess anything can happen. I would not be surprised if Liverpool got the signing over the line now though.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW