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Review & Ratings: Fred, and Williams did well in Liverpool defeat; United need investment with Rashford injured…

Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the match with Roberto Firmino scoring a second in the 25th minute of the match which was ruled out by VAR. United did has a chance to get back in the game, putting pressure on Liverpool late in the game but the speed of Mohamed Salah was too much for United as his doubled the lead at the death of the game.

Liverpool took the lead in the eighth minute of the match after United gave away a corner. Trent Alexander-Arnold took the corner and a virtually unmarked Virgil van Dijk jumped to meet the ball, sending it straight towards to goal beating David De Gea for the home side to take the lead in the game. In the 25th minute, Liverpool doubles their lead through Roberto Firmino but the goal was ruled out by VAR because of a foul. De Gea was booked for descent before the goal was ruled out.

United came close in the second half with Anthony Martial having the best chance of the game, shooting from an angle and missing the target completely. However, Liverpool were putting United inter severe pressure, hitting the woodwork and just missing the target with De Gea making a good save to deny them from doubling their lead in this game. United might have ben 1-0 down but there was some fight in the game to keep it that way. An equaliser would see a fair result in the game.

Late in the game, United were piling the pressure on Liverpool but not actually pressing for an equaliser. In the dying seconds of the game, Alisson kicked the ball out of the box and Mohamed Salah used his pace to collect it with Daniel James trying to catch him, matching his pace but not able to stop him from scoring the second goal of the game for the Anfield club, winning the game and putting them 30 points clear of United. It is not the end of the world, United will be back – eventually.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unfortunate to concede a goal in the opening eight minutes of the match but he was not going to stop van Dijk from scoring. The second goal was ruled out by VAR but resulted in De Gea being booked for descent. He conceded a second at the death through Salah.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back did well at times and lacks a final ball when playing it into the box. He looks like he needs a rest, which could come this week against Burnley.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The swede seemed to be the liability at times, but at others, he was doing his job. Bailly should be given a chance to form a partnership with Maguire this week.

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5 Harry Maguire

The England defender should have perhaps been marking van Dijk in the opening stages of the game but wasn't. He led United well at times and did the best he could. This team is lacking strength and now that Rashford is out, investment is needed more than ever.

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23 Luke Shaw

Some say he did well, other will say he didn't. He looked rusty, having come back from an illness and was definitely lacking match fitness. He struggled late in the game and was replaced by Dalot.

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17 Fred

The midfielder was probably the best player on the pitch for United. He was everywhere as certain points in the game. Those who continue to criticise him either have too high expectations or they don't actually watch him. It is good United have him right now otherwise they would be further up the creek with no sign of a paddle.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The veteran is a good player to have at this stage of the season with United lacking everything in midfield. If the hierarchy fail to get something down this month, United will be screwed this season.

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21 Daniel James

The Welsh winger seems tired and in need of a rest. Many are speaking out against him on social media as his delivery of crosses/passes has not been great - they talk like they are/have been professional footballers themselves but have only played FIFA.

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Andreas Pereira

I don't think this lad is good enough for United, not as a regular starter anyway. His technical ability is not good enough - he has the fitness but a professional footballer needs more. His passing is not thorough enough and he wastes any time he has to play a positive pass.

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33 Brandon Williams

The defender played well against Liverpool and did what he needed to do, keeping his head held high. He could not stop van Dijk from scoring in the eighth minute of the match but he should not have been marking him. Head held high.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman had the best chance to level in the game, sending his effort off target. He seemed to be aware but had little creativity behind him. Something needs to give with United screaming out for investment. There is a player out there that would be a good signing but United are messing about with penny-pinching tactics that result mainly in failure.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Pereira 74'. Came on late in the game and tried to give something the team was missing. However, it did not work all that well with United conceding at the death of the game.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Williams 74'. The youngster was involved in the game since his introduction and pressured the Liverpool defence, beating van Dijk to a header, however, failing to get a chance on goal with it.

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Diogo Dalot

Replaced Shaw 87'. Came on three minutes from time. Not enough time for him to get all that involved in the game.

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Goals: Virgil van Dijk 14′, Mohamed Salah 90+3′

Assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold 14′, Alisson 90+3′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Dalot 87′); Matic, Fred; James, Pereira (Mata 74′), Williams (Greenwood 74′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Jones; Lingard

Bookings: Mohamed Salah 90+4′; Nemanja Matic 8′, David De Gea 25′, Luke Shaw 72′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial leads the line against Liverpool; Rashford misses out; Bailly on the bench

Manchester United will face Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League this afternoon; the second match between the two teams this season. Back in October, despite scoring first, United ended up drawing 1-1 with Liverpool, being the only team in the Premier League to take points off the club this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to carry United’s recent good form into the match, leaving Merseyside with all three points, however unlikely it may seem at the minute.

Liverpool have gone a full year without a defeat in the Premier League; the last being the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on the 3 January 2019. In the 38 matches played since that match, Liverpool have won 33 and drawn five times. The Merseyside club has drawn one match this season; against United at Old Trafford in October. There are positives to take from that game and possibly take to Anfield aiming for victory.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Fred;

James, Pereira, Williams;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot; Mata, Lingard; Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson;

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum;

Salah, Firmino, Mane

Substitutes:

Adrian; Matip; Fabinho, Minamino, Lallana, Jones; Origi

United and Liverpool have played a total of 231 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1894. United have won 88 times, drawn 67 times and lost 76 times. The last defeat to Liverpool came in the Premier League back in December 2018, a 3-1 defeat at the Anfield with Sadio Mané opening the scoring, Jesse Lingard equalising with followed with a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri to win the game. Former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked after this defeat.

Liverpool are the team to beat this season – literally no team in the Premier League has beaten them and the only team to take points from that this season was United on the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. The last time United beat Liverpool was in March 2018 a 2-1 victory in the Premier League with Rashford scoring a brace in the opening 24 minutes of the match and Bailly scoring a 33rd minute own goal to put Liverpool back into the game.

How Manchester United could look against unbeaten Liverpool; Rashford, Martial, James, and Mata to lead the attack; Williams keeps his place?

Manchester United will travel to Anfield to take on Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. It will be the second match in the league between the two teams this season. Back in October at Old Trafford, United earned a 1-1 draw and still to this day are the only team in the league to take points off Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side are unbeaten in the league in their last 38 matches, winning 33 and drawing just five.

United should be motivated for this match. Granted, with injuries, they will not have their best team on the pitch but the best one they can field at this time. Winning the last two matches will be good motivation for the squad but playing at Anfield should motivate them more, especially after the 3-1 defeat in their last match there. Also, the fact that Liverpool could win the league should set something off in their guts, driving them to get a result at any cost on Sunday. This is the United that I want to see emerge from the Anfield tunnel.

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

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one kept a clean sheet in his last game which will give him confidence ahead of the biggest match of 2020. United being the only team to take points off Liverpool in the Premier League will also be a boost for this match. United will need to be on top of their game in order to get a result at Anfield but if they look back to their last visit, which ended in a 3-1 defeat losing Jose Mourinho his job, they should find enough to motivate them for this match. The fact they are leading in the league by as many points as they are should be motivation alone.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

The defence this season is the best defence, statistically, in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era with them conceding just ten shots on goal, on average per match. Harry Maguire, the new club captain is part of this with his assured presence in the centre of defence being a defining factor. If you compare his individual stats to those of Virgil van Dijk, you will also see just how much for former Sheffield United and Leicester City defender has done. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place as what he has offered this season has been great, considering the dire times endured and Brandon Williams will play on the other flank. Victor Lindelof may start this game but the return of Eric Bailly could happen in this match.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic

The midfield is at barebones still with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay on the sidelines through injury. Fred has raised his game this season which has come with an extended period in the starting XI due to injuries. Some will criticise him, others will praise him – he just cannot win. He might not be of the ilk of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane of Bryan Robson but he’s what United have right now and have to accept. Nemanja Matic has been a regular starter in the past six matches, starting five of them. He did well against Wolves on Wednesday evening and may have to be on top form to keep Liverpool at bay. United have nobody else to rely on right now, although Tim Fosu-Mensah could be close to a return.

Attacking Midfielders: Daniel James, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford came off the bench against Wolves on Wednesday evening and had to come off 16 minutes later through injury. It looked like a bad one and despite Solskjaer suggesting that he does not know if he will play, I reckon he will start in this game and probably sit out for a period of time through injury, which will be problematic for the club. Daniel James will probably start on the right despite his poor stats in recent matches with his crosses going astray and his miss against Wolves. Juan Mata may be trusted in the middle of the three behind the striker based on his last two performances where he scored one goal and assist two – definitely a better fit than Jesse Lingard in this position.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman will lead the line against Liverpool, the team he came back from injury again back in October. He had an off game against Wolves this week and will need to be on top form to offer anything for his club against the Premier League leaders. 11 goals and three assists for him this season is a good rate of goals and assists but he needs to be doing so much better. In the summer, if not in January, he may face a battle for this position as United will be seeking to bring in another striker to set the pace in the team. Martial should put the work in early and show that he’s the man to build around.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Tim Fosu-Mensah; Mason Greenwood

United will need something on the bench to keep their fight against Liverpool going. Sergio Romero will return to the bench after keeping a clean sheet against Wolves. I think Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot will be the defensive options from the bench with Tim Fosu-Mensah, who play as a defensive midfielder for the U23s last week being another option in both areas. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could be the midfield options with Mason Greenwood the attacking option from the bench, perhaps using his pace and ability late in the game, if he comes on early enough to get up to speed with the game.

Preview: United seeking to become the first Premier League team to beat Liverpool ending their unbeaten record?

Liverpool -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Anfield, Liverpool

Sunday 19 January 2020, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Richard West; Scott Ledger Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss 

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Manchester United will face Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon; the second match between the two teams this season. Back in October, despite scoring first, United ended up drawing 1-1 with Liverpool, being the only team in the Premier League to take points off the club this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to carry United’s recent good form into the match, leaving Merseyside with all three points, however unlikely it may seem at the minute.

Liverpool have gone a full year without a defeat in the Premier League; the last being the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on the 3 January 2019. In the 38 matches played since that match, Liverpool have won 33 and drawn five times. The Merseyside club has drawn one match this season; against United at Old Trafford in October. There are positives to take from that game and possibly take to Anfield aiming for victory.

Form: Liverpool are the team to beat this season as in the league, no team has beaten them. United are the only team to take points off them in the league this season.

Manchester United: WWLDLW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W, Manchester City 3-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Arsenal 2-0 L, Burnley 2-0 W

Liverpool: WWWWWW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Everton 1-0 W, Sheffield United 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-0 W, Flamengo 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Marcus Rashford is the top scorer for United, scoring five more goals (in all competitions) than Mohamed Salah.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 9 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United’s forward three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood have outscored Liverpool’s forward three this season which takes the club in the right direction. However, lacking creativity in midfield and leaking goals against better teams sees United in a problematic position. The recent boost of winning their last two matches will give them belief heading to Anfield to take on the Premier League leaders but this team will need to dig deep to get a result.

Liverpool Goals: 14 – Mohamed Salah, 13 – Sadio Mané, 9 – Roberto Firmino, 5 – Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 4 – James Milner, 3 – Naby Keita, Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson, 1 – Jordan Henderson, Ki-Jana Hoever, Curtis Jones, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho

Liverpool are literally the team to beat this season. In the Premier League they have won every match other than one; the match against United at Old Trafford in October. The only other matches they have lost this season is the FA Community Shield, 5-4 on penalties to Manchester City, the first group stage match in the UEFA Champions League, a 2-0 defeat to Napoli and a 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, fielding a youth team with the first team playing in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Team News: United could be boosted with the return of Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah but Marcus Rashford is a doubt for this game; Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay still on the sidelines through injury.

United will be without Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo, Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw for the visit to Anfield. Solskjaer also confirmed that Marcus Rashford will be a doubt after the injury he suffered in the victory over Wolves in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening. Both Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah-Mensah are both lacking match fitness but could be in line to return for the first team this weekend.

Liverpool look set to be without James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, and Naby Keita, whereas Fabio Tavares, Dejan Lovren, and Joel Matip could be doubts for the game. Jurgen Klopp will be happy to see Fabinho back in training this week, although he will not feature against United this weekend. It is set to be a good game and one which could see United become the first team to beat Liverpool in the league this season, if they have it in them.

Predicted Starting XI: Rashford to start against Liverpool? Greenwood on the bench to add something late in the game? Matic and Fred to continue in midfield?

Solskjaer may not be able to make too many changes in this game, the most important match of 2020 so far. I think Rashford will start on the left with Anthony Martial as the lead striker. Daniel James on the right with Juan Mata in the middle. The midfield will consist of Fred and Nemanja Matic, although Tim Fosu-Mensah could be close to returning. The back four could consist of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Harry Maguire, and Brandon Williams with David De Gea back in goal.

Match Prediction: Liverpool are the team to beat this season having a 38 match unbeaten run in the Premier League so there is a lot for them to lose if United decide to use the rivalry between the two sides to get a win on the road.

United and Liverpool have played a total of 231 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1894. United have won 88 times, drawn 67 times and lost 76 times. The last defeat to Liverpool came in the Premier League back in December 2018, a 3-1 defeat at the Anfield with Sadio Mané opening the scoring, Jesse Lingard equalising with followed with a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri to win the game. Former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked after this defeat.

Liverpool are the team to beat this season – literally no team in the Premier League has beaten them and the only team to take points from that this season was United on the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. The last time United beat Liverpool was in March 2018 a 2-1 victory in the Premier League with Rashford scoring a brace in the opening 24 minutes of the match and Bailly scoring a 33rd minute own goal to put Liverpool back into the game.

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

Confirmed Starting XI: De Gea, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, James and Rashford start against Liverpool; Martial on the bench

Manchester United come up against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford this 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.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young;

McTominay, Tuanzebe, Fred;

Pereira, Rashford, James;

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo, Williams; Mata, Garner; Martial, Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson;

Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum;

Mane, Firminho, Origi

Substitutes:

Adrian; Lovren, Gomez; Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana

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.

Key Players and Battles: Maguire, McTominay and Martial to battle with Salah, Fabinho and Van Dijk in Old Trafford clash?

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.

How Manchester United could look against Liverpool in a 4-2-3-1 formation? Martial, Lingard, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, and Shaw to return?

Manchester United face a challenging clash at Old Trafford with Liverpool coming to town on Sunday afternoon. This season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been lacking a lot of things – ever since that 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea in the opening match of the season, the ability to score goals and win matches has seemingly disappeared.

Liverpool are the current Premier League leaders and it will be a massive challenge to take points off them, even considering the fact that United are unbeaten in the last five home fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side. The good thing is that Solskjaer could have some players back from injury, which will go a long way in making this team better.

The one thing that has been lacking though is fight. There does not seem to be much of this in the team and answers will need to be found, otherwise, there will be more players ensuring that they will be exiting the club either in the January transfer window, or next summer. Matches like this should get the team fired up. If not, what is the point?

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

David De Gea suffered an injury whilst playing for Spain on Tuesday evening, which could see him miss the Liverpool match, so in this case, Sergio Romero should face the Premier League leaders. The Argentinian has played well most of the time when called upon, however, with the squads confidence in the gutter, this could be problematic.

Romero is a decent number two goalkeeper for any club and he can be a safe pair of hands when needed. Liverpool, however, could be up for the challenge of facing United without De Gea in goal, which could see them take advantage, of both United without De Gea and the club being in the state it is currently in, which might be a tough day at Old Trafford.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence has struggled recently with the illness of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the injury to Luke Shaw, both should hopefully be over as United bid to get ready for the visit of Liverpool. With both players in the team on either side of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, the defence has been good this season. United have conceded nine goals though, in 11 matches.

This match could well be one that gets fire in the bellies of all of the players, who in recent weeks have all let the team down. If this is going to be another lacklustre match for United, it will be hard for them to come back from a defeat against the league leaders and it will reduce the level of confidence amongst the squad, which they are all responsible for.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

The midfield needs to change. Paul Pogba, when fit, is not being played to his strengths. Granted, United need better midfielders, but the club made a decision not to replace Marouane Fellaini or Ander Herrera, so that is how it will remain until at least January. Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could be partnered here, which might aid the team.

Pogba should be playing further forward as United get better creativity when he plays in an advanced position. The defensive aspect should be dealt with by both Matic and McTominay with the Serbian shielding the back four and McTominay being the link between defence and attack. Back to basics might be better for Solskjaer, which might actually work.

Attacking Midfield: Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford scored a stunning goal for England against Bulgaria on Monday, playing from the left-wing. Rashford has not been cutting it as the lead striker this season, his best performances have come from the flanks. Daniel James might have to move to the right flank to accommodate Rashford, seeing what can be attained from this game.

Pogba has been ruled out of this match, which is a major blow with the same United, other than Wan-Bissaka, Martial and possible Shaw. Jesse Lingard will probably start, although he does not deserve to. He has become a problem player in this squad who has not done enough to warrant his immaturity on social media. He’s 27 in two months!

Striker: Anthony Martial

The French forward has been missing for the last eight matches and it has been a big blow for United, who have been toothless in attack, scoring just five goals since the Crystal Palace defeat, which was the same game Anthony Martial was injured in. Marcus Rashford has not been good enough in front of goal to carry United forward.

Not replacing both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez could well be costly for United this season and it will cost them a lot of money when a striker has been identified. It is clear that Martial, Rashford and Greenwood is not enough to keep the goals coming – although it does not mean they are all bad players. This squad is stretched this season.

Substitutes: Lee Grant; Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred; Mason Greenwood

Having players capable of carrying United forward on the bench is going to be important for Solskjaer. With De Gea’s expected absence, Lee Grant will have a position on the bench. Axel Tuanzebe has done well in recent weeks and there are suggestions that he could rival Lindelof to partner Maguire in the centre of defence, which will be good for him.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira and Fred could also find themselves on the bench – none of them have done much to warrant starts, if players are coming back from injury. They all need to be doing so much better. With no other attacking players and if he is fit, Mason Greenwood could he on the bench also. If he’s not fit, Tahith Chong could be selected.

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

Manchester United and Liverpool battle for Junior Firpo but could Kieran Tierney be a better fit?

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be going head-to-head with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp over Real Betis defender Junior Firpo this summer. United was first linked to the 22-year-old left-back last month in what is now being described as a £45 million transfer, which is the same amount as the player’s release clause.

The reports state that both Liverpool and United had not been put off by the player’s price tag, which could be good for the Spanish side. One factor in both clubs being interested in the player is to bolster the left-back position. United has just Luke Shaw who is a true left back with Liverpool having just Andy Robertson, however, United had Ashley Young, who could play in that role, which could be problematic.

Firpo can also play in a number of other positions, including; central defence, left-wing, which could also add some desire in both managers signing the 22-year-old this summer. However, for United at least, there might be other players out there who might be a better fit, especially for the money that would have to be spent on this transfer alone, if the reports are, in fact, true.

One of those players is Celtic’s 22-year-old left-back, Kieran Tierney. The Scottish international fullback is currently linked to Arsenal but a £15 million bid has been rejected for the player, who is valued at £25 million by the Scottish champions. This could become a £20 million saving on Firpo for United which could also see another player from the United Kingdom in the playing squad and a player with immense talent to rival Shaw.

Arsenal is seeking to replace Nacho Monreal who left the club at the end of last season so will be urgently looking to sign a player to replace him. However, United are not so desperate and that could add complications, such as the player not seeing himself as the first choice left-back at the club, which could be the same for Firpo. Both Tierney and Firpo can play in different positions, however, the former is not a regular at anything other than left-back.

Under the years of success under Sir Alex Ferguson, United always had more than one option in all positions, which is a good method to success and gives more depth, especially if there are injuries or the main player in that position is not performing to the best of their abilities. Competition in a certain position demands the best from each player in line to play there, which should produce for United, something we have not seen for some time.

Of course, there are no guarantees that United is actually interested in Firpo, or Tierney for that matter, however, they should be. United will have a number of players scouted for the last few months or longer. They should really be in a more advanced stage of recruitment at this stage of the summer, however, other Premier League clubs have still not made waves in the transfer market yet.

If a left-back is to be recruited this summer, Tierney should be a more affordable option to that of Firpo. The fact Celtic would sell for £25 million, if there was an offer on the table should really be a no brainer for United, who under the Glazers have been penny-pinching for a long time now. That should be great news for Ed Woodward and his purse strings. I think Tierney could challenge Shaw which would bring the best of both players, or at least it should do.

Ratings: Injuries cost Manchester United in draw with Liverpool; Luke Shaw was my MOTM

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It was a strange match with the three substitutions for United in the first half with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer losing Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and then Jesse Lingard in the first 43 minutes of the game. That said, it was United who had the better play, getting six shots, three of those on target – Liverpool has seven shots, one on target.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to rejig his team inside the first half of the game with Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard coming off injured. Andreas Pereira (Herrera), Jesse Lingard (Mata), and Alexis Sanchez (Lingard) replaced the injured midfielders, which will be a worry for the Norwegian as Nemanja Matic is on the sidelines for up to a month. Now selling Marouane Fellaini does not look like a good decision after all, although the likes of Pereira, Scott McTominay and Fred may get some valuable minutes soon.

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Man of the Match: Luke Shaw

The England left-back played well throughout the game and put in a lot of effort to keep Liverpool at bay. The result may not have been the best but the clean sheet, especially against a team who have scored in every away game this season, is a good result. It may have helped Liverpool reach the summit of the league table once again but they are only a point better off against Manchester City with eleven matches still to play. Shaw and United should be applauded for this match, considering all the injuries in the first half.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had little to do against Liverpool at Old Trafford. One shot on target for the visitors. United, despite the three first half substitutions, had the better opportunities to score, even having the ball in the back of the net, although it was ruled offside.

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18 Ashley Young

The United defence kept Liverpool at bay. Young did well throughout the match. Mohamed Salah has not scored a single goal against United and that remains a fact to this day. No double for the dippers.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The ice man was in good form in defence against Liverpool. One of the contenders for MOTM for me, although Rashford was the one who won it, in my opinion.

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Chris Smalling

Could have been involved in the only goal of the match, playing the ball through the defence from a set-piece, however, he was ruled to be offside. Defensively, he played a good game and that clean sheet will be valuable, although the result may not be.

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23 Luke Shaw

Got forward at times, despite being pegged back for much of the game with Liverpool having the most of the ball, despite doing less than United did with it. A commendable performance.

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21 Ander Herrera

The Spanish midfielder lasted 20 minutes in the game against Liverpool before coming off injured, heading straight down the tunnel for treatment, which could be worrying for United, especially with Nemanja Matic on the sidelines.

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39 Scott McTominay

Started and was immediately criticised on social media but the fickle fans who seem to know more. I don't think he did all that bad a job in all honesty. He's not Nemanja Matic and does not bring the confidence the Serbian does but he needs to play to continue his development. McTominay showed his ability in the box defending set-pieces.

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8 Juan Mata

Juan Mata lasted 25 minutes against Liverpool before injury ended his game with him being replaced by Jesse Lingard. United's injury worries had doubled in the opening quarter of this game.

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6 Paul Pogba

Got involved throughout the game and kept United going when they were attacking, especially at the start of there second half. United did well against Liverpool.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Did not look happy half way into the first half and was seemingly carrying an injury, which comes at the worst time for United. Carried on into the second half, although it was obvious that he was not fully fit. Great to see him put himself on the line for his team though.

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Romelu Lukaku

Not impressed with what I saw from the Belgian today. Seemed to do a lot less than Rashford, and he was carrying an injury.

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Substitutes

Andreas Pereira

Replaced Herrera 21'. The Belgian-born Brazilian had high expectations to fill on replacing Herrera. He did well in the first half but dithered a bit in the second half, making some poor passes. A bit of confidence could do wonders for him. As the second half grew, his confidence grew too, which could be a boost for him as he could feature more now, especially against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Mata 25'. The England international overcame injury to face Liverpool, which might have been too soon for him. Romelu Lukaku played Lingard through, beating Van Dijk with Alisson rushing to gather the ball with Lingard through. Lingard seemed to get injured here and immediately left the pitch, possible for a longer layoff. Not good for Solskjaer and United.

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Alexis Sanchez

Replaced Lingard 43'. As more times passes, it seems obvious that Sanchez is not a good fit for United. Another failure in the number seven shirt at this stage. Of course, it can still change but the chances of it changing are outweighed significantly. Not a United player in my opinion, as exciting his signing was more than a year ago.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Herrera (Pereira 21′), McTominay, Mata (Lingard 25′ (Sanchez 43′), Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Dalot; Fred

Bookings: Ashley Young 81′; James Milner 23′, Xherdan Shaqiri 83′, Georgino Wijnaldum 90′

copyright: JW