Menu

Ratings: Not one player tried – that’s how it seems. Defence terrible, Captain not worthy, Pogba didn’t care.

Manchester United were beaten 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were toothless, lacked any kind of ability to play this game and will be under so much pressure, which will either make or break them. Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick in the game, scoring in the 38th minute, five minutes into added time and one against five minutes into the second half. Naby Keita opened the scoring and was stretched off after Paul Pogba was sent off the the foul. Diogo Jota scored the other goal in the game that saw Liverpool run riot at the Theatre of Dreams.

United started this match positively, getting forward almost straight away, but got nothing despite Bruno Fernandes firing over the crossbar. Liverpool showed their threat soon after, taking the lead in the fifth minute of the match through Naby Keita, who seemed to bust through the defence, who could not get back into position from the midfield. David De Gea tried to make the save with his foot, watching the effort hit the back of the net. Five minutes later, Marcus Rashford had a chance on goal, which was wide of the target and the story of United’s season so far. Solskjaer will need to have impeccable in-game management to gain something.

Despite some positive pressure from United, in the 13th minute of the match Liverpool doubled their lead at the Theatre of Dreams through Diogo Jota, with the assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold. It was the start of a nightmare for United, who have found themselves 2-0 down in the first half for the second time this week. The defence seem to be abject at best with no real improvement, which is alarming. United through, did press Liverpool and have a long period of play in their half, not able to carve out a goalscoring opportunity though, which was even more worrying that the score at the time. This was not going Manchester United’s way.

United started to find more to throw at Liverpool, but it was not paying off. This side were clinical and concise and nothing was going to stop that in this match. United conceded a third goal in the 38th minute of the match, through Mohamed Salah, who has now scored in three consecutive visits to Old Trafford. United were down and out and needed something short of miracle to get out of this with high esteem. In added time, Salah scored his second goal of the game to put Liverpool 4-0 up and cruising towards victory. United faced a hard task ahead of them and getting something from this match would require everything working.

At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made is first substitution with Paul Pogba replacing Mason Greenwood. I am not sure what the manager hopes to achieve from this. Just five minutes into the second half, Liverpool had scored their fifth goal of the game with Salah completing his hat-trick. United did get a goal back through Cristiano Ronaldo minutes later, but he was offside and the goal was taken away. United’s troubles had only just started as before the 60th minute of the match, Pogba was on hot water for a two-footed tackle on Keita, who required a stretcher to come off the pitch. A yellow was given but after VAR, it was a red card.

United were down to ten men, 5-0 down and nothing could get worse than this. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Edinson Cavani and Diogo Dalot replacing Rashford and Fernandes. It was too late for damage limitation and it seemed clear that United were not going to get anything from this match. Nothing has been learned since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. That is how it seems. Defeats like this are devastating, especially to the supporters of the club who work themselves hard to pay for their hobby of watching football. As Paul Pogba left the pitch, he did not seem all that bothered.

In the last ten minutes of the match, United had a good chance for a late consolation with Cavani hitting the crossbar. It was not meant to be. United just wanted this match to be over – it already was early into the second have as Liverpool scored their fifth goal. It is a time whereby the pressure at United will be intense as the club looks to find the form to challenge for a win in their matches, let alone trophies. Something has to give in these dire times. The game ended 5-0 for Liverpool, which sees United slip to seventh in the league, level on points with Everton, Leicester City an Arsenal but at the top of that pile because of goals scored and goal difference.

United face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday and with both teams losing today and seemingly out of form, it could be a match for United to get back to winning ways, but I doubt it. Spurs will turn up and be there to cause some problems in their own way. United then face Atalanta in the Champions League before welcoming Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams. The warning signs are there for United, their manager, the coaches and the players. Will they keep this dejected style of football going, or fight for their jobs? It will all come out in the wash. We carry on going until we can go no more.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

United were exposed by poor defending throughout the match. Conceded five goals. De Gea made a good save from Alexander-Arnold. He tried his best based on what is in front of him.

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Showed by Trippier was wanted in the summer. Aimless, hopeless, devoid of anything a good footballer can do in this game. United have major problems in both fullback positions, let alone the central defence. Not a good problem to solve.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

Feeble, stagnant display, major loss of form and yet he still gets picked. Will not give Varane any problems to get back into the team when he is fit. Terrible defensive showing from a full international.

12345

5 Harry Maguire

Terrible performance for the captain of this club. He seems to have gifted the opposition many goals, that that is just in the past week. Something needs to be done about his slump in form. Should not be starting in this kind of form. This is stealing a living playing like this.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

He had his best season at United last season and started this one in fine form, but more recently, that has become a distant memory. United need some help and soon.

12345

17 Fred

Seemed to be the starting influence for the gal that Fernandes should have scored in the opening minutes. After that, he was lost just like his teammates.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

Pointless in the centre of the midfield against a team like Liverpool. He is a good player for the club, but in terms of starting, he should be behind an enforcer type player. Not a good day for him.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

Had a chance on goal which drew a save from Alisson. Was replaced by Pogba at the start of the second half though, which did not work either.

12345

18 Bruno Fernandes

Missed an effort on goal in the opening minutes of the match. Seemed to lose all the attributes of a top player after this as United kept getting deeper into the whole they had dug themselves.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

Regressed at times, but seemed to try at times too. Could have scored by was off the target. Seemed to be greedy at times, but that could also be shown as hunger to achieve something. Replaced by Dalot in the 62nd minute.

12345

7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Seemed to be a player that was showing his frustrations, and possible regret for returning to United. Could have seen red too for a challenge on Jones. Found the back of the net, but it was offside. The story of United was not a good one today.

12345

Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Greenwood 46'. Came on to help inspire United at 3-0 down but two more goals were scored with him on the pitch. A two-legged foul saw him sent off with the help of VAR. Terrible performance from the Frenchman. Not sure his heart or his head are with United. Some people have seen this already whereas others will defend him because he's their hero. He's out of order, that's what he is. Unprofessional.

12345

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Fernandes 62'. Hit the crossbar at 5-0 down. Should have perhaps started in a different formation. Should have been brought on much sooner.

12345

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Rashford 62'. Not sure what he was brought on to do in an attacking sense. It seems it was just to give him a run out.

12345

Goals: Naby Keita 5′, Diogo Jota 13′, Mohamed Salah 38′, 45+5′, 50′

Assists: Mohamed Salah 5′, Trent Alexander-Arnold 13′, Naby Keita 38′, Diogo Jota 45+5′, Jordan Henderson 50′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood (Pogba 46′), Fernandes (Cavani 62′), Rashford (Dalot 62;); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Sancho

Bookings: Luke Shaw 41′, Cristiano Ronaldo 45+1′, Fred 45+3′, Bruno Fernandes 46′, Harry Maguire 55′, Paul Pogba 61′ s/o, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 86′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood start against Liverpool; Pogba and Cavani on the bench

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford this afternoon. Last season, Liverpool ran riot at the Theatre of Dreams and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be tasked with trying to change that this season. United came from behind against Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, scoring three second half goals to take all three points in the group stage match, which puts them at the top of their group with six points in three matches. Two more wins and avoiding a defeat in the last group stage match should be enough to put United through this season.

Liverpool sit in second place in the Premier League ahead of this match with 18 points, four more than United who sit in sixth place with 14 points. That will change before the two sides kick off at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. United need to find three points in the league after no winning for the past month, beating West Ham United at the London Stadium back in September. Defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester City plus a draw with Everton have seen Solskjaer’s side struggling at home and away this season, despite their bright start to the campaign. This match would be a big one to win for United and Solskjaer.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Dalot; Pogba, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Sancho

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson;

Keita, Henderson, Milner;

Salah, Firmino, Jota

Substitutes:

Adrian; Gomez, Tsimikas, Matip; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones; Mane, Minamino, Origi

United and Liverpool have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 28 times, drawing 14 times with Liverpool winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 79 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 67 goals, winning seven penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. United players have been shown a total of 107 yellow cards and nine red cards with Liverpool players being shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards.

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. Only Michael Owen and Paul Ince have played for United and Liverpool since the Premier League was formed. 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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: 4-1-4-1 formation to press Liverpool? Ronaldo, Rashford, Pogba, Van de Beek and Sancho to lead the attack? Matic in defensive midfield?

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Last season, Liverpool ran riot at the Theatre of Dreams and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be tasked with trying to change that this season. United came from behind against Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, scoring three second half goals to take all three points in the group stage match, which puts them at the top of their group with six points in three matches. Two more wins and avoiding a defeat in the last group stage match should be enough to put United through this season.

Liverpool sit in second place in the Premier League ahead of this match with 18 points, four more than United who sit in sixth place with 14 points. That will change before the two sides kick off at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. United need to find three points in the league after no winning for the past month, beating West Ham United at the London Stadium back in September. Defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester City plus a draw with Everton have seen Solskjaer’s side struggling at home and away this season, despite their bright start to the campaign. This match would be a big one to win for United and Solskjaer.

Previous meetings with Liverpool and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Liverpool have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 28 times, drawing 14 times with Liverpool winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 79 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 67 goals, winning seven penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. United players have been shown a total of 107 yellow cards and nine red cards with Liverpool players being shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards.

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. Only Michael Owen and Paul Ince have played for United and Liverpool since the Premier League was formed. 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 the Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has inspired his team this season. He is finding his best form in a game by game basis and seems to be gaining some ground. He had a poor season last season and that seems to have helped him find the best of his abilities once more. Against Atalanta, he performed well and the two goals seemed to be because his defence let him down again, which has been said a lot in the past month or so. De Gea has made some great saves to keep United in that game, helping them keep their heads and go on to find the win, which they eventually did. De Gea has gained the plaudits this season because of his form.

Against Liverpool, it will be important for the Spanish goalkeeper to keep his head, as I don’t think the defence will keep theirs. United have spent a lot of money on the defence; £30 million on Eric Bailly, £30 million on Victor Lindelof and £80 million on Maguire, but that money has not created a solid defence. £50 million was spent on Aaron Wan-Bissaka too, which has done something defensively, based on what the right-back position was like at the time, but in terms of attacking, there is not much pressure there. De Gea could be the player to be the difference between United winning and losing on Sunday.

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

United’s defence is much weaker without Raphael Varane but they will have to get through this without him. He could be back in a week’s time and I suppose there is always a chance that he could be back sooner, but he will need to be fully fit. United don’t need another showing of an unfit player rushed back into action. Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places in the fullback positions, which is where the strength lies going forward, especially on the left with Shaw an attacking presence much of the time. Wan-Bissaka needs to get forward more and add some attacking ability to his game.

In the centre of the defence, Lindelof and Maguire should keep their places from midweek but they will need to up their game to keep check on this rampant Liverpool side. United ave kept one clean sheet this season and really need to get on top of that. If United are able to outscore their opposition, which is something the attacking ranks in the team should be able to do, conceding goals is not so bad. But right now, United don’t seem to inspire many going forward. Against Atalanta, a resilient United emerged in the second half, attacking time and time again until then eventually levelled the score then found the winner.

Defensive Midfield: Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic is the best defensive midfielder at the club this season based on his experience and his performances. Scott McTominay and Fred are closely followed, with them being Solskjaer’s choice to play in a two-man midfield. However, the formation is the main problem for United as the midfield tends to be exposed based on the lack of experience and brilliant defensive-minded midfielders. Against Liverpool, despite the fact he could get overrun, Matic will be the best player to sit in front of the defence. He will need to be helped with the job with both the defenders and the advanced midfielders dropping back to avert the pressure.

Matic still has a part to play at United but when a new enforcer type midfielder arrives, he will be relied upon much less, which will keep him fresh for the occasion, if he still wants to remain at the club. He can be the difference between winning and losing despite him losing his legs, which means the ground he covers will mean he needs to be significantly supported in the right areas for United to prosper. This 4-1-4-1 formation will be good when United attacks Liverpool, but would result in a midfield three when Liverpool were attacking with even the wide players dropping back to assist their teammates to avert any damage.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford

Having four players behind the main striker will make United top heavy and more prone to attacking, rather than defending. Liverpool will aim to control the game and press their way to a victory, which is where United will need to fight back. Every team can be beaten in this league, the manager, coaches and players just need to ensure that happens. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should start on the right-wing and left-wing (respectively) – providing Rashford is fit to start following his thigh injury sustained on Wednesday. This will provide pace, attacking pressure and ability on the flanks to press Liverpool.

In the two central positions, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba should start, on the proviso that Bruno Fernandes will be missing, which could be the case for United. This should keep the team attacking and hopefully the Dutchman will be up for the challenge of Liverpool and not showing his frustration at being on the bench more often than not. To play for United, you need to offer something and when he has played, it has not been the best for him. If he wants to leave in January, I doubt he will be kept against his wishes, but he will be known as yet another player who failed at the club. To work hard means you get recognition.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese forward scored a brilliant goal to win the match for United against Atalanta on Wednesday and he will be well up for the challenge of facing Liverpool for the first time since March 2009 when United lost 4-1, in which he opened the scoring in the match before Liverpool ran riot. Ronaldo is a player who has been criticised since he returned to Old Trafford, seemingly being the lowest pressing player, which seems to have changes in the last few matches. Ronaldo might be a poacher now, but his individual brilliance is still there to create something special for his club, which is all he wants to do.

Ronaldo is a winner and will continue to be one. He has not seemed happy in the last few Premier League matches, which is understandable as they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa, drew 1-1 to Everton and lost 4-2 to Leicester City. That is not something to be happy about. United have fallen into sixth place in the league but a victory over Liverpool will keep the Red Devils in with a chance of getting back into the top spots in order to challenge, but that will need to continue to happen in each match to challenge. A loss could see United out of the pack that will challenge for the title this season, which is too early for that to happen at this time.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles; Jesse Lingard, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay; Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

With nine substitutes able to be named, using just three of them, Solskjaer will need to get the balance on the bench right against Liverpool. I expect Dean Henderson to be on the bench in this match, unless there is something up with De Gea. In defence, Eric Bailly, and Alex Telles should be available. I think it will be too soon for Varane to be back in action, keeping him fresher for the matches against Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City seems more likely. The balance here seems to be fewer defensive minded players, more attacking players, as that seems to be United’s best chance of getting a good result.

In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Fred (if he is fit enough to take a place on the bench), Bruno Fernandes (if his knock received against Atalanta is not too troubling for him) and Scott McTominay should be available, which can add some attacking brilliance and some energy onto the pitch, if it is needed – which perhaps will be the case. In attack, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani should be available. Anthony Martial has been back in training this week, but he might not have the fitness level to feature in this match as United will need to have every available player ready or perform if and when they are needed. Come on United!

Written by John Walker

Preview: United must beat the Dippers. The momentum built against Atalanta must be carried forward

Manchester United -v- Liverpool

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 24 October 2021, KO 16:30 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Lee Betts

Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United return to Premier League action as they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Last season, Liverpool ran riot at the Theatre of Dreams and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be tasked with trying to change that this season. United came from behind against Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, scoring three second half goals to take all three points in the group stage match, which puts them at the top of their group with six points in three matches. Two more wins and avoiding a defeat in the last group stage match should be enough to put United through this season.

Liverpool sit in second place in the Premier League ahead of this match with 18 points, four more than United who sit in sixth place with 14 points. That will change before the two sides kick off at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. United need to find three points in the league after no winning for the past month, beating West Ham United at the London Stadium back in September. Defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester City plus a draw with Everton have seen Solskjaer’s side struggling at home and away this season, despite their bright start to the campaign. This match would be a big one to win for United and Solskjaer.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLDWLL

Atalanta 3-2 W, Leicester City 4-2 L, Everton 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-1 W, Aston Villa 1-0 L, West Ham United 1-0 L

Goals: 5 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Victor Lindelof, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Liverpool – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WWDWDW

Atletico Madrid 3-2 W, Watford 5-0 W, Manchester City 2-2 D, FC Porto 5-1 W, Brentford 3-3 D, Norwich City 3-0 W

Goals: 12 – Mohamed Salah, 6 – Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, 3 – Diogo Jota, 2 – Naby Keïta, Takumi Minamino, 1 – Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, Divock Origi

Assists: 4 – Mohamed Salah, 3 – Curtis Jones, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Konstantinos Tsimikas, 1 – Thiago Alcántara, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Virgil van Dijk, Neco Williams

Previous meetings with Liverpool and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Liverpool have met a total of 58 times in the history of the Premier League with both teams playing in the league since it started. United have won a total of 28 times, drawing 14 times with Liverpool winning the remaining 16 matches. United have scored 79 goals, winning five penalties and scoring three of them. Liverpool have scored 67 goals, winning seven penalties and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. United players have been shown a total of 107 yellow cards and nine red cards with Liverpool players being shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards.

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. Only Michael Owen and Paul Ince have played for United and Liverpool since the Premier League was formed. 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.

Team News: United could have a multitude of players missing against Liverpool who have three players likely to be missing. Solskjaer will need to pick his team carefully and his tactics will need to be right.

Raphael Varane (Groin) is the only player ruled out due to an injury and there is a chance he could face Tottenham Hotspur. Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Fred (Hamstring) both have a 25% chance of making the clash with Liverpool. Bruno Fernandes (Knock) has a 50% chance of being fit to face Liverpool, which could be a blow. Marcus Rashford (Thigh) and Anthony Martial (Fitness) both have 75% chances of featuring against Liverpool. Solskjaer might have to play either Paul Pogba or Donny van de Beek in the number ten role, depending on the chosen formation. If some of these players are not fit, it will be a massive bow for United.

Thiago Alcantara (Calf/Shin) and Harvey Elliott (Ankle/Foot) have both been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams to face United on Sunday. Liverpool will be able to get by without the duo. Curtis Jones (Groin/Hip) has a 75% chance of being available. Liverpool will go into this match with a strong squad, knowing that they are in good form, especially in their last six matches which sees them undefeated. United will have to be tight against the Scousers as if they play the way they did against Atalanta, it will be a defeat for United as Liverpool will not let them get the better of them when they are on top. Solskjaer will have his work cut out this weekend.

Predicted Starting XI: Could a 4-1-4-1 formation give United the power to press Liverpool, create a tight-knit way of playing and use the attacking talent at the club to push for another victory?

Solskjaer needs to find the perfect formation for United to play a swashbuckling brand of attacking football. Attack is the best form of defence and United have the attacking might to do that. However, the midfield is not the best with a top holding midfielder required for the club to actually push forward – but that will have to wait until January or beyond. Playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation will help to strengthen the defence, which is needed with Raphael Varane out for the foreseeable future, packing the midfield and playing an attacking style of football to get the best of everything that United has at this time.

David De Gea all retain his position as the goalkeeper against Liverpool as he has not really done anything wrong that should see that being changed. Granted, United have conceded goals but they seem to be from defensive errors rather than goalkeeper mistakes. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will keep their places in this team too. Nemanja Matic should start in this big game, shielding the defence. The four behind the striker should be Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the attack, seeking to commence scoring in the Premier League once again.

Match Prediction: United failed to beat Liverpool in the Premier League last season and will have an uphill task to doing that the season. Come on United!

Last season, United were winless over Liverpool in the Premier League, drawing 0-0 at Anfield on the 17 January 2021, losing 4-2 at Old Trafford on the 13 May 2021. United opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match through Bruno Fernandes. Diogo Jota equalised in the 34th minute. Roberto Firmino put Liverpool in the lead three minutes into added time at the end of the first half, completing his brace two minutes into the second half. Marcus Rashford got United back into the game in the 68th minute with time left to find an equaliser but in the 90th minute, Mohamed Salah secured the victory for the away side.

United will be able to look at the comeback against Atalanta on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford to inspire them against their bitter North West rivals. United have the ingredients to win big matches but they need to learn that determination, get the tactics and the formation right and be able to adapt that quickly when things go wrong, as evidently in the world of football they do, and that happens quite often. United need to get a victory over Liverpool this season, which will put them in good stead as they look to find their way back towards the top of the Premier League. 30 matches still remain and anything can happen.

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Fernandes and Rashford both score for United in Liverpool defeat; gulf in class and plenty to work on in the summer

Manchester United were beaten 4-2 by Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match, assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, although the goal was initially credited as an own goal by Nathaniel Phillips. Diogo Jota, assisted by Phillips levelled the score in the 34th minute with Roberto Firmino scoring a brace either side of the break to put Liverpool further ahead. Marcus Rashford, assisted by Edinson Cavani, got United back into the match in the 68th minute but it was not enough for United. Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s fourth in the 90th minute.

It was an even start to the match with Liverpool wanting a penalty in the second minute after Roberto Firmino’s cross hit the hand of Eric Bailly, who was in a natural position trying to block the cross. Nothing was given by the referee, as should be the case. United had a great chance in the early stages after Alisson passed the ball out to Edinson Cavani and the Uruguayan was wide of the target, which was a massive let off for Liverpool. United took the lead in the tenth minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes firing towards goal, which seemed to be off target and Nathaniel Phillips stuck his leg out with the ball hitting the back of the net.

It was starting to look like a good performance by United as they were really getting at the Liverpool players, which is something their fan base will never admit because of injuries and probably the fact that United had better players and it not being fair. I won’t make them cry too much though. Liverpool wanted a penalty after Bailly made what seemed like a last-ditch clearance which also took out Phillips. The referee gave the penalty but VAR did not award it. United could have scored minutes later through Paul Pogba but his header on goal needed another touch before it could have become a problem for Alisson.

United eventually conceded in the 34th minute of the match after being under pressure form a corner and former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Diogo Jota finding the back of the net, minutes after he tested Dean Henderson, assisted by Phillips. Liverpool then had a period of the match on top, getting the better of United in their own area, which then resulted in United regaining possession and having a shot on goal through Pogba, beating Alisson but was off target, hitting the side netting. Three minutes were added at the end of the first half with United on the attack through Pogba, passing to Fernandes who saw his shot blocked.

Liverpool ended up sneaking a goal just before the end of the half with Roberto Firmino beating Henderson to lead 2-1 with the assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold. It would have been a blow for United, who now need to work much harder against Liverpool to get something from this match. United’s goal was awarded to Fernandes, so was not an own goal for Phillips and therefore Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s assist will stand, which was his fifth of the season. Fernandes is on 28 goals so far this season, at this point in the match but United will need to have a positive second half to get level then fight for a victory.

Liverpool scored a third goal in the 47th minute of the match after a combination of errors between Bailly and Fred. Firmino scored his second goal of the game, either side of the half. Liverpool then had more chances as United looked to weather the storm. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood replacing Fred. In the 68th minute of the match, United got a second goal of the match after a good attacking run saw Edinson Cavani play the ball into Marcus Rashford, scoring his 21st goal of the season with Cavani getting his fifth assist of the season. United had a period of progress after that goal.

Solskjaer brought on Nemanja Matic in the 86th minute of the match with Bailly coming off, looking uncomfortable as he walked up the steps into the stand. Liverpool then took full advantage from the match, scoring their fourth goal of the evening with Mohamed Salah one-on-one with Henderson, getting the advantage and securing what would be a disastrous defeat for United at Old Trafford. It will be an evening that all the Ole Out brigade will be in full force putting their agendas on the table, not taking into account the fact that Harry Maguire is clearly the player in the defence that keeps United ticking over.

That is two defeats in a row for United in the Premier League, both at Old Trafford, meaning they have lost six matches this season, which will be boiling point for those fan cam wannabes who shout in a room on their own and spit at their phone. Granted, it is bad for United to be losing these matches but it is not the end of the world. United have two more matches in the league this season and they are already guaranteed a top four finish but would like to be the runner’s up to Manchester City, who were crowned Premier League champions after United’s defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday evening.

United face Fulham at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening which is the final home match of the season. Supporters will also be back in the stadium, in some kind of capacity so that will be interesting to see as not one supporter has been at a match at Old Trafford since March 2020. United will then face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday 23 May 2021 and United will be expected to secure their second-placed finish in the league – not that it matters as the same things is provided for second, third and fourth place. The UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal then beckons.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made two saves to thwart Jota before he scored in the 34th minute. He made an error for Firmino's error. He's a competent goalkeeper and will need this result to become better but people will write him off now as they have no patience.

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Assisted for Fernandes in the tenth minute. His fifth assist of the season. He was one of the better performers of the evening.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

Looked lost without Maguire next to him. Hopefully he starts to shown signs of recovery for the Europa League final.

12345

3 Eric Bailly

Seemed to concede a penalty but VAR did not give it. That was lucky for him. His new contract looks embarrassing after this performance. He was rash, reckless and did not look competent at all.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

He's had a great season so far but in this match, he would love to forget it all. Was not his attacking self and played a part in Firmino's second goal of the evening.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

The McFred duo did not work against Liverpool. Both were inept at times. Neither was better than the other. McTominay persevered but there was no real output in this match.

12345

17 Fred

A much as he has been playing this season, he should be better than this. Helped Liverpool get their third goal, which was not great. Was replaced by Greenwood in the 63rd minute of the match.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

Greenwood could have started in his place. He did get his 21st goal of the season but his form needs to improve drastically. United need to be on top of their game for the Europa League final.

12345

18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored his 28th goal of the season, despite it looking like a Phillips own goal. Could have helped get United to grab the game by the throat but he seems tired, which is not a good sign.

12345

6 Paul Pogba

Seemed to play better when he was brought back deeper against Liverpool. Firmino got the better of him at times.

12345

21 Edinson Cavani

Perhaps should have scored when Alisson gifted him, but he gifted Alisson back with a miss. Seemed absent at times but got his fifth assist of the season for Rashford's 21st goal of the season.

12345

Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Fred 63'. Helped to change the game a little with Rashford scoring within five minutes of him coming on but it was not enough for United.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Bailly 86'. Came on to help limit the damage but gave away the ball for Salah to score Liverpool's fourth of the evening.

12345

Goals: Bruno Fernandes 10′, Marcus Rashford 68′; Diogo Jota 34′, Roberto Firmino 45+3′, 47′, Mohamed Salah 90′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 10′, Edinson Cavani 68′; Nathaniel Phillips 34′, Trent Alexander-Arnold 45 +3′, Curtis Jones 90′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly (Matic 86′), Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Greenwood 63′); Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Van de Beek

Bookings: Eric Bailly 48′, Scott McTominay 79′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani leads the line, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba in support against Liverpool

Manchester United face Liverpool in the match that was rescheduled because of the protest against the Glazers which stopped the team leaving the Lowry Hotel in Manchester and also saw supporters enter the Theatre of Dreams when ended up with the match being postponed on safety grounds. Old Trafford now resembles a battle ground with barriers and fences erected to stop the same thing from happening on Thursday evening. United confirmed their place in next seasons UEFA Champions League on Sunday after their 3-1 victory over Aston Villa and will complete their three Premier League matches in five days with this match.

United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City and if it was not for Caglar Soyuncu’s header in the 66th minute of the match, the club would have struggled to beat United. After the match, Liverpool supporters were moaning about match fixing, despite United using players from their squad list (25 players), which can also include as many U21 players as the manager chooses. You would think that United cost Liverpool UEFA Champions League football next season, when in actual fact, it was Liverpool that did that by becoming one hit wonders and having a very poor season as the Premier League champions, which is now a distant memory.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba;

Cavani

Substitutes:

De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, R. Williams, Robertson;

Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum;

Salah, Firmino, Jota

Substitutes:

Adrian, Kelleher; Tsimikas, N. Williams; Jones, Shaqiri, Woodburn; Mane, Origi

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Liverpool fans are bitter and will blame anyone but their beloved club. Come on United, beat the dippers

Manchester United -v- Liverpool

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Thursday 13 May 2021, KO 20:15 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Dan Cook, Constantine Hatzidakis

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson 

VAR: Graham Scott Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton

Manchester United face Liverpool in the match that was rescheduled because of the protest against the Glazers which stopped the team leaving the Lowry Hotel in Manchester and also saw supporters enter the Theatre of Dreams when ended up with the match being postponed on safety grounds. Old Trafford now resembles a battle ground with barriers and fences erected to stop the same thing from happening on Thursday evening. United confirmed their place in next seasons UEFA Champions League on Sunday after their 3-1 victory over Aston Villa and will complete their three Premier League matches in five days with this match.

United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City and if it was not for Caglar Soyuncu’s header in the 66th minute of the match, the club would have struggled to beat United. After the match, Liverpool supporters were moaning about match fixing, despite United using players from their squad list (25 players), which can also include as many U21 players as the manager chooses. You would think that United cost Liverpool UEFA Champions League football next season, when in actual fact, it was Liverpool that did that by becoming one hit wonders and having a very poor season as the Premier League champions, which is now a distant memory.

Manchester United: LWLWDW

Leicester City 2-1 L, Aston Villa 3-1 W, AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D, Burnley 3-1 W

Liverpool: WDDDWL

Southampton 2-0 W, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Leeds United 1-1 D, Real Madrid 0-0 D, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Real Madrid 3-1 L

Top Scorers: A few more goals for Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood would be a good end to the season for Manchester United.

Manchester United Goals: 27 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Edinson Cavani, 12 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United have had a largely positive season, no matter what the agenda-driven so-called supporters on social media suggest. They are so drunk on their agendas that they cannot see what has been happening but will still claim that United are lucky to be in the position they are in, when being second for the majority of the season is nothing to do with luck. United have lost five times in the league this season – three of those came in the first six matches of the season. The Europa League final is now where the concentration should be directed this season, at least after this match – beating the dippers is what we all want to see.

Liverpool Goals: 29 – Mohamed Salah, 14 – Sadio Mané, 12 – Diogo Jota, 6 – Roberto Firmino, 4 – Curtis Jones, Takumi Minamino, 3 – Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, 1 – Thiago Alcántara, Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri, Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have been poor this season. The fans will blame their season on an injury to Virgil van Dijk but when that excuse was used at various points in history by other club, the Scouse fans say that one man does not make a team. However, in this case, it would be right. Without Van Dijk, Liverpool have been toothless in their pursuit of retaining their league title. It has been funny to watch and with all the pundits that stated Liverpool were the best Premier League team ever last season, to see that they don’t want to talk about their attention seeking today is even funnier. Watching Liverpool choke has been even better though. Injuries, boo hoo.

Team News: Four players in the sidelines due to injury for United with Liverpool likely to miss up to ten players in total for the clash with United at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

Phil Jones (knee), Anthony Martial (knee), Daniel James (other) and Harry Maguire (ankle) have all been ruled out of action through injury. Maguire has suffered ankle ligament damage and could make the UEFA Europa League final in a fortnight’s time. United rested a number of players against Leicester City on Tuesday evening with Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay all sitting out the match. Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes had cameo appearances in the defeat. United should be back to fuller strength against Liverpool, whose fans seem upset at this time.

Virgil van Dijk (knee), Divock Origi (muscular), Caoimhin Kelleher (abdominal tear), Joe Gomez (knee), Joel Matip (ankle/foot), Jordan Henderson (groin/hip/pelvis), Ben Davies (muscular), Naby Keita (knock), James Milner (knock) and Ozan Kabak (muscular) all seem to be ruled out of the rescheduled clash with United at Old Trafford, which will give Jurgen Klopp limited options ahead of the match. Do I feel sorry for them though, no way – the club has never felt sorry for United when they have amassed loads of injuries at any stage of the season. Hopefully United will beat them again this season – they deserve that too.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the line against Liverpool with Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford in support.

Solskjaer will probably make another ten changes in his starting XI against Liverpool in the rescheduled fixture on Thursday evening. Ten changes were made in the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday evening which has resulted in Liverpool unlikely to play Champions League football next season. I think, as Cavani came off the bench against both Aston Villa and Leicester City, he will start against Liverpool as after this match, there will be four full days of rest (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) before the next match, which is against Fulham at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford should be back too.

Match Prediction: 58 matches played between United and Liverpool in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawn 15 and lost 15. Who will be the victors on Thursday?

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Henderson, Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba and Rashford start against Liverpool; Van de Beek and Cavani on the bench

Manchester United go back to Premier League action this afternoon when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. This will be the second time the reigning Premier League champions will have visited the Theatre of Dreams, losing 3-2 in the Emirates FA Cup a week after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side have seemingly fallen off their perch almost immediately after they climbed upon it, falling out of the running to retain their title, which is seemingly set to be claimed by Manchester City. United though will be seeking to confirm their second-placed finish in the league under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United were in action on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg, facing AS Roma at Old Trafford. United opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Bruno Fernandes but gave away a penalty five minutes later with Roma scoring another with 11 minutes of the first half left to play. United then scored five second half goals with Fernandes completing a brace, Edinson Cavani scoring a brace and Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood scoring the others. Liverpool were not in action since last weekend, so could be fresher for this match but as we saw against Leeds last weekend, there is no guarantee that it will help.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba;

Rashford

Substitutes:

De Gea; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani

Liverpool:

Alisson;

Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson;

Thiago, Fabinho, Milner;

Salah, Firmino, Mane

Substitutes:

Adrian; Tsimikas, Williams; Wijnaldum, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Shaqiri; Jota

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Pogba and Fernandes to bring out the bitterness from the Scousers this weekend?

Manchester United go back to Premier League action on Sunday when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. This will be the second time the reigning Premier League champions will have visited the Theatre of Dreams, losing 3-2 in the Emirates FA Cup a week after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side have seemingly fallen off their perch almost immediately after they climbed upon it, falling out of the running to retain their title, which is seemingly set to be claimed by Manchester City. United though will be seeking to confirm their second-placed finish in the league under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United were in action on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg, facing AS Roma at Old Trafford. United opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Bruno Fernandes but gave away a penalty five minutes later with Roma scoring another with 11 minutes of the first half left to play. United then scored five second half goals with Fernandes completing a brace, Edinson Cavani scoring a brace and Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood scoring the others. Liverpool were not in action since last weekend, so could be fresher for this match but as we saw against Leeds last weekend, there is no guarantee that it will help.

How United have faired against Liverpool in the Premier League.

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

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

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has had a good season at United. He has challenged David De Gea which has led to speculation suggesting that the Spaniard could leave the club this summer, which is partly because of the fact his partner gave birth to his daughter in the past few months. Henderson has a good future ahead of him but he is a different goalkeeper to De Gea – commands his area well but has a mistake in him, which is really the case for any goalkeeper out there today. Youth is on his side and his inexperience will soon turn into experience. For years United have been trying to create a goalkeeper from their academy.

That may well have happened after the likes of Ben Foster and Sam Johnstone came close to being the one, although for the latter, the goalkeepers already at the club created a block which led to him leaving the club instead of aiming to prove himself. Henderson could well be the goalkeeper at the club for a decade or more, which would be good for United and Solskjaer and create some stability in the squad with the manager rebuilding he club in the right direction to return the club to the success that they became accustomed to during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at the helm of the club.

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

United’s defence still have mistakes in them but it is a game of mistakes – that is literally one of the reasons that goals get scored – someone messes us. Still, I would like to see the defence a bit more on top in matches, like in the second half against Roma. If United played in a similar manner, they would be a lot stronger at the back. Against the threat of Liverpool, United will need to be strong at the back to overcome the threats that could be encountered. I would expect to see Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles in the fullback positions for this match with Luke Shaw rested and only playing if needed. The break would do hims good for next week.

In the centre of defence, Eric Bailly could make his first start since the international break and his coronavirus encounter, which could give Victor Lindelof a rest ahead of next week’s clash with Roma, which will be a tough encounter, even if United are four goals better off than the Italian club at this time. Harry Maguire will continue to play though, not missing a single minute of Premier League action since signing for the club in the summer of 2019. Many seem to suggest that Maguire is not captain material but it is clear that he is, especially in the fact that his teammates seem to respect him. He’s United’s captain and he is doing a good job.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba

Solskjaer will probably utilise Scott McTominay and Fred in these positions again but I think Donny van de Beek should be given a match from the very start. Granted, there is a plan in place to ease him into the Premier League but he will need to be starting sooner rather than later. Against Liverpool, a pivot of Van de Beek and Paul Pogba might work but the defenders will need to do their job well. This is just a suggestion, not how it will probably play out but United need to start with their best players which could do the job needed in midfield. Pogba was immense against Roma on Thursday and has had a few good performances lately.

United have too many decent midfielders at the club at this time, both in the first team and coming through the academy. Solskjaer will need to get them implemented into things sooner rather than later. Many would like to see Pogba and Bruno Fernandes rested but against Liverpool, the best players at the club will need to start. This is a match that means so much more than keeping all players fit for Thursday, it is Liverpool and a win is expected, otherwise Jonny will be spitting at his phone in an empty room again. As Leicester City dropped points on Friday evening, United have the chance of going seven points clear after 34 matches played.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

United will probably continue in the 4-2-3-1 formation which means three attacking midfield players. Bruno Fernandes scored his 26th goal and 16th assist against Roma, which puts him in the starting XI by itself. 42 goal contributions so far this season in all competitions is admirable. He was back to his best against the Italian side, which is good news ahead of the Liverpool clash. Some may suggest that Marcus Rashford will start against Liverpool but I think he should be kept on the bench for later in the match as he was largely ineffective against Roma on Thursday. He still needs a bit more time to rest after that injury.

In his place, Daniel James should start on the left as he is a player that can do somme magic, despite the criticism he faces week in and week out for not have the talent to succeed. I mean, it seems to come from FIFA players, so the reality is not really there, is it? Mason Greenwood should start on the right. He was impressive against Roma on Thursday and bagged his 10th goal of the season for his club. Last season he got 17 goals and four assists – this season he has 10 goals and six assists, so he is getting there. James has five goals and one assist to his name this season, so in the next seven or eight matches he will be seeking more.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani got himself two goals and two assists against Roma, taking his goal tally to 12 so far this season, also doubling his assists to four. The rumours suggest that he will spend a second season at the Old Trafford club next season, which if true is great news and will put a bit less pressure on the club to bring in a new striker. Cavani is everything that United needs at this time and I believe that he can teach Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford more in a further year at the club. Cavani will be in his element right now, especially after bagging goals against Granada, Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley too.

I feel that the Uruguayan leading the line against Liverpool will put some pressure on their defence and could result in more goals for him, or create the space for Fernandes, James, Greenwood or any other player to get in there and score goals. United have a great player on their hands and yet again those supporters who know it all wrote him off before he even got to the club because age clearly means more than anything. Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved them wrong and is still doing that today. Cristiano Ronaldo is older and still doing his thing, but they seem to rate him. It is strange judging a player by their age but stupid is as stupid does.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Scott McTomminay; Marcus Rashford

Solskjaer will be back to naming just nine players on the bench in the Premier League, using just three of them – which was all he used on Thursday evening. It worked though and it may not work as well ons Sunday afternoon. The substitutes could well be called upon to change the game or even support what United had already done, keeping a lead or whatever. I fully expect David De Gea to be back on the bench after the Roma match and I think he will start in the second leg too. In defence, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could all be available.

In the midfield, Juan Mata, who made a cameo on Thursday, Amad Diallo and Scott McTominay could be available with both Fred and Nemanja Matic being rested ahead of Thursday’s match in Rome. United may end up picking these players for this match with Matic’s experience and ability to defend and Fred’s ever presence in the midfield despite his performances. In attack, Marcus Rashford could be on the bench as he is not fully fit and did not get much against Roma, despite United player a better brand of football in the second half. It is possible that Solskjaer picks a different team with Donny van de Beek on the bench again instead of starting.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Liverpool – United’s chance to regain their momentum and ignite revenge against their bitter rivals

Manchester United -v- Liverpool

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 2 May 2021, KO 16:30 BST

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood

Manchester United go back to Premier League action on Sunday when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. This will be the second time the reigning Premier League champions will have visited the Theatre of Dreams, losing 3-2 in the Emirates FA Cup a week after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side have seemingly fallen off their perch almost immediately after they climbed upon it, falling out of the running to retain their title, which is seemingly set to be claimed by Manchester City. United though will be seeking to confirm their second-placed finish in the league under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United were in action on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg, facing AS Roma at Old Trafford. United opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Bruno Fernandes but gave away a penalty five minutes later with Roma scoring another with 11 minutes of the first half left to play. United then scored five second half goals with Fernandes completing a brace, Edinson Cavani scoring a brace and Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood scoring the others. Liverpool were not in action since last weekend, so could be fresher for this match but as we saw against Leeds last weekend, there is no guarantee that it will help.

Manchester United: WDWWWW

AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D, Burnley 3-1 W, Granada 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W, Granada CF 2-0 W

Liverpool: DDDWLW

Newcastle United 1-1 D, Leeds United 1-1 D, Real Madrid 0-0 D, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Real Madrid 3-1 L, Arsenal 3-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has 26 goals for United this season with Mohamed Salah having 29 to his name. Both players will be seeking to be on the scoresheet at the Theatre of Dreams.

Manchester United Goals: 26 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Edinson Cavani, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

In their last six matches, United are undefeated – winning five times and drawing once. Solskjaer’s side have scored a total of 16 goals, conceding four and keeping three clean sheets. The second half performance against Roma will be a problem for Liverpool if United are still in the same mood after going 2-1 down in the first half on Thursday. This is where Liverpool will need to be wary as United are a different team than the one that turned up against them over the past few seasons. It is Liverpool that are now the team who are likely to be dejected with no hunt for a trophy this season and United in with a chance of winning one. Jealousy.

Liverpool Goals: 29 – Mohamed Salah, 13 – Sadio Mané, 12 – Diogo Jota, 6 – Roberto Firmino, 4 – Curtis Jones, Takumi Minamino, 3 – Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, 1 – Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri, Virgil van Dijk

In their last six matches, Liverpool have been in poor form which is great to see. They have two wins, three draws and one defeat – scoring eight goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets. How the mighty have fallen so soon. The Liverpool supporters will state that injuries have cost them this season, but when other clubs fans have said they same, they mocked them. It seems to be one rule for Liverpool and one rule for everyone else. If you ask United supporters which team they hate the most, Liverpool will be the answer. There is a great rivalry between the clubs but right now, despite the recent past, United are still on top.

Team News: No new injuries for United ahead of the clash with Liverpool, who are set to see upto seven players miss this important match.

Phil Jones (knee) and Anthony Martial (knee) are the only two injury doubts ahead of this weekend’s clash with Liverpool in the Premier League. United will be boosted with the performance against Roma on Thursday evening, coming from 2-1 down to win 6-2. Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw worked hard to put United on the front foot once again in the match, after taking the lead in the ninth minute. The fact that Dean Henderson, Amad Diallo, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek and Eric Bailly will still be fresh for the clash with Liverpool is a big bonus. The same can be said for Liverpool’s current form.

Virgil van Dijk (knee), Divock Origi (muscular), Caoimhin Kelleher (abdominal tear), Joe Gomez (knee), Joel Matip (ankle/foot) and Jordan Henderson (groin/hip/pelvis) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford to face United on Sunday. Nathaniel Phillips (hamstring strain) has a 25% chance of being fit for the match, which is a big doubt so Jurgen Klopp will probably be without him this weekend too. Liverpool’s current form is not the greatest positive for them at this time with United’s resurgence, especially when behind, showing their true ability, unless you are one of the fans that suggest there is no positivity at the club right now.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to keep his place leading the line for United against Liverpool?

Solskjaer may need to make some changes for this match with it being important for United to keep their chase on a second-placed finish in the Premier League this season, but also to keep one eye on the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg in Rome on Thursday. Edinson Cavani should keep his place in the team as he will be at a level whereby he will be confident of scoring more goals amid rumours of his contract being extended at the Theatre of Dreams. Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Donny van de Beek and Daniel James could also start, after being rested against Roma on Thursday evening, which gives United many different options.

Match Prediction: 58 matches played between United and Liverpool in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawn 15 and lost 15. Who will be the victors this weekend?

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW