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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.

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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.

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2 Victor Lindelof

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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6 Paul Pogba

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

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7 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba key to beating Liverpool; Greenwood on the bench

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.

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 Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson looks to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s choice for the number one goalkeeper at United heading into the future. Some supporters do not think he will do a good job as they are against change. David De Gea has been calamitous over the past few seasons, but has shown his ability this season, especially against AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League semi-final second lag last week. But changes happen in football and we are powerless to stop it. Henderson is a great goalkeeper but some foreign fans seem to preach xenophobia in an English club having English players, which is part of the ruled and the identity of English football clubs. Henderson has my support moving forward but it will be hard seeing De Gea leave too, if he does.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw

Harry Maguire looks unlikely to play in any of the remaining Premier League matches after his ankle ligament injustice sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend. It is a major blow to United’s defence – even the people that have slated Maguire for the entire season are upset. You just cannot make it up. It is clear that he is the glue that binds this defence together and without him, United are much weaker. Against Liverpool, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw should all be recalled into the team with Axel Tuanzebe keeping his place after his performance against Leicester City, which showed him as the best defender in that defence. Tuanzebe deserves to play more football and his time could be now.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred

No matter what anyone says, Scott McTominay and Fred are Solskjaer’s go-to players for the pivot positions in the centre of midfield. Many will suggest that McTominay is not a player that United need and they he should be sold but he is a player that gives his all. Some fans only want the best midfielders at the club but Manchester United is not a galactic club and should never be that. McTominay has seven goals to his name this season, equaling Anthony Martial’s efforts – who was having a bad season before his knee injury. Fred is a player that could well be replaced in the summer, as he’s not a typical United player and seems clueless at times but in terms of work rate, he gives his all which is good to see. He should be lauded for that.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

This is the area where the majority of the goals are this season. Usually, you will see Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford occupy these positions but as Greenwood played the majority of the match on Tuesday, he should be on the bench for this match. Those three players are responsible for 59 goals and 37 assists so far this season. With Greenwood on the bench, Rashford will move to the right with Paul Pogba filling in on the left, which is where he has played a few times this season. Pogba has six goals and seven assists to his name this season, which is a positive output considering the problems he has had. United should have enough experience and firepower here to cause Liverpool some problems.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani, fresh from signing his new contract at the club, even if it is just an extra season, will be in full confidence ahead of the Liverpool clash. He played just over 20 minutes in the defeat to Leicester and it was only the second in eight matches that he had not scored. Having scored 15 goals and assisted four times so far this season, he is a player that knows that he’s the best striker at the club and can also create chances and open up ore space for other players to find the back of the net. He is lethal with his headers and will be a tricky player for Liverpool’s back four to contend with. Cavani will be looking forward to facing Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams just as much as he will to play inside a full stadium, which could happen next season.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Mason Greenwood

Solskjaer heavily rotated his squad against Leicester, although it was not a bad team, or a youthful one at that. The fallout from that has been funny to watch with Trevor Sinclair wanting a points deduction but when Manchester City did similar, twice, nothing was said at all. Whatever makes these people relevant, right. David De Gea will be back on the bench, should he be needed. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams will be available. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek will be there, should they be needed and in attack, Mason Greenwood will be the only attacking player on the bench. United have enough firepower, experience and ability to get a rise out of Liverpool. Who will they blame then?

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

Ratings: Greenwood and Diallo combine against Leicester, despite United losing 2-1

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City in the Premier League. Luke Thomas opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match with Mason Greenwood equalising five minutes later, assisted by Amad Diallo, who made his Premier League debut alongside Anthony Elanga this evening. Leicester managed to find another goal through Caglar Soyuncu in the 66th minute of the match, which was enough to get them the win, which funnily enough put pressure one Liverpool’s hopes of achieving UEFA Champions League football this season, so it is not all bad.

Despite the ten changes made to the team from the victory over Villa, United started well and many of the younger players were showing good signs of technical ability in the game. That said, Leicester broke forward and opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match with 19-year-old Luke Thomas scoring his first Premier League goal of the season, assisted by Youri Tielemans. United looked to get straight back into the swing of things though with Mason Greenwood scoring his seventh Premier League goal of the season, assisted by Amad Diallo, which was a good start for the Ivorian. Leicester should not write United off.

It was a pretty fair result that both teams got a goal in the early stages of the match but there was not really many great moments that came after the goals. United, obviously, looked like a team that had not played together before, which was the case for many of the players on the pitch but Leicester did not really show an advantage, which much have been a worry for Brendan Rodgers. Surely a team like Leicester should have been pressuring United a lot more than they did. United had the most possession in the match, having one shot on goal, which was on target and was turned into a goal. Leicester has three shots, one on target – their goal.

At the end of the half, it was 1-1 all between the two sides with Leicester needing to do a lot more to get something from this match. There was still a chance that they could drop out of the UEFA Champions League places in the league, playing 36 matches this season with Liverpool having two games in hand, which would add more pressure, especially if United won this match. The draw would be acceptable for United, who sit seven points clear of Leicester – with a game in hand, in their bid to secure second place in the league this season. Edinson Cavani was warming up at the end of the first half, which was not a good sign for the Foxes.

There were no changes by either side at the start of the second half. Kelechi Iheanacho had a shot on goal, assisted by Marc Albrighton in the first minute of the match but the shot was blocked. Wilfred Ndidi also had a shot but David De Gea made the save. In the 54th minute of the match, Greenwood had a shot after the ball was played in by Alex Telles. However, the shot was blocked. Ndidi had another shot two minutes later, but Leicester would need to try a lot harder to breach the United defence. Axel Tuanzebe was pretty clued up against Iheanacho, which was great to see from the fringe player.

Solskjaer was seeking to change things up after the hour mark of the match with Cavani and Marcus Rashford getting ready to come on. Leicester had tried to pepper the United goal with chances from Iheanacho and Ndidi before any changes were made by Leicester did not seemingly have an advantage. Cavani and Rashford replaced Greenwood and Anthony Elanga in the 66th minute of the match. As soon as the change was made, Leicester took the lead through Caglar Soyuncu, which was a shame. United now needed to get back up to speed in the match, coming from behind for the second time in the game.

It was a shame United were behind again in this match but looking at the players on the pitch, Leicester should really be taking more advantage. This will be something that many journalists will not talk about as United are losing, therefore that is the bigger story. Solskjaer made his final substitution in the 79th minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes replaced Diallo. United had just over ten minutes, plus added time, to find another equaliser and possibly a winner in this match. The fact Leicester were winning was a blow to Liverpool, who could now face a blow in breaking into the Champions League placed this season.

United were trying to get back into the match but the chances they had were not able to change the match. There were three minutes added on at the end of the match and it would seem that Leicester will win this match and Manchester City will be the Premier League champions, needing United to lose to secure that as they could not beat Chelsea at the weekend. I guess that is how the small teams win titles now. United have done well in this match. There was nothing to lose as they have already achieved a top four finish this season. Obviously they would like to finish second, which is still likely.

United will be back in action at 20:15 BST on Thursday 13 May 2021 at Old Trafford as they welcome Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams following their postponed meeting almost a fortnight ago. United will have three matches left in the Premier League this season and a weekend’s break before they face their penultimate match, again at Old Trafford, this time against already relegated Fulham on Tuesday 18 May 2021 at 18:00 BST. United will hope to be in a position to field weaker teams in the last few matches so they can rest the majority of the players for the UEFA Europa League final which will be played in Gdansk on Wednesday 26 May 2020.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unable to stop Thomas' effort on goal in the tenth minute. Made a save to deny Iheanacho. The defence were at fault for much of the match, as was expected.

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33 Brandon Williams

Lacked match fitness, but he has not been playing regularly, like he was last season. Seems to play better on the left. Perhaps needs a season on loan.

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3 Eric Bailly

Did well against Vardy, who was largely quiet against United. Bailly needs to do more to become a starter at the club.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Finished a lot better than he started. Dealt with Vardy at times. He was the better defender in this defence. Needs to play more. Has the ability - which will get better the more he plays.

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27 Alex Telles

Was unable to provide the same play as Shaw on the left. Targeted by Leicester at times. United rely on the left-back attacking, which did not happen tonight.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Helped to shield the back four as much as he could. He played an effective game. Soyuncu beat him to the ball to head in the winner though. Good to see him play a full game.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Did not get stuck into the game which indicated he needs to play more. He needs to find his form. It has been a tough season for him. He will get there, eventually.

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19 Amad Diallo

Had a good Premier League debut. Saw Thomas' mistake and jumped on the ball to assist for Greenwood to bet the equaliser. It was good to see him play. He was replaced by Fernandes in the 79th minute.

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8 Juan Mata

Played his part in the match and kept the attacking players together at times. United rarely threatened though, even when Cavani and Rashford were on the pitch - they did improve United though.

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56 Anthony Elanga

Offered pace and energy on his Premier League debut. It perhaps came too early for him. He will build on this performance. It was his first time against a full first team. He was replaced by Rashford in the 66th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Scored his 12th goal of the season, which was great to see. He had some moments on the ball but United were short of ability to push Leicester - who should have scored more against this team. Cavani replaced him in the 66th minute.

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Substitutes

7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 66'. Had presence on the pitch and got forward in the right positions. Sadly could not get another goal this season.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Elanga 66'. Came on as Soyuncu scored the winner. Got forward at times but United were not really threatening the Foxes.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Diallo 79'. Came on for eleven minutes plus added time. Tried to change the game. It was not meant to be for United.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 15′; Luke Thomas 10′, Caglar Soyuncu 66′

Assists: Amad Diallo 15′, Youri Tielemans 10′, Marc Albrighton 66′

Manchester United: De Gea; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Matic, Van de Beek; Diallo (Fernandes 79′), Mata, Elanga (Rashford 66′); Greenwood (Cavani 66′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Lindelof, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, McTominay

Bookings: 

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Elanga and Diallo make Premier League debuts against Leicester

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles;

Matic, Van de Beek;

Diallo, Mata, Elanga;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Henderson; Lindelof, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, Fernandes, McTominay; Cavani, Rashford

Leicester City:

Schmeichel;

Castagne, Fofana, Soyuncu;

Albrighton, Ndidi, Tielemans, Thomas;

Perez;

Iheanacho, Vardy

Substitutes:

Ward; Amartey, Pereira, Fuchs; Maddison, Choudhury, Mendy, Praet, Maswanhise

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] De Gea to captain United? Diallo, Greenwood and Rashford to spearhead attack against Leicester City?

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

How United have faired against Leicester City in the Premier League.

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Leicester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea sat out of the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday after featuring for United in the 3-2 defeat to AS Roma, which earned the club an 8-5 aggregate victory and therefore a place in the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal on the 26 May 2021 in Gdansk. United will need to rotate players this week, therefore De Gea should start against Leicester City at Old Trafford, in which United will need a win start to secure their second-placed finish in the Premier League this season. De Gea played well in Rome and made some very important saves to keep his side in the game, and therefore win. His experience and class could well be required against Leicester, whose season could be falling apart after their defeat to Newcastle United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles

Solskjaer will need to rotate his defence, not only because this is the second of three matches in five day period but because Harry Maguire received an ankle injury against Villa on Sunday. Therefore, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should keep his place at right back with Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly forming a central defensive partnership. Alex Telles could also start at left-back with Luke Shaw getting a rest ahead of the Liverpool clash on Thursday. United have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League next season and need just four points to secure their second-placed position. Not only that, winning could add further pressure to Manchester City’s title charge, which will show whether they are a great team or not, as the media will proclaim.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

The midfield will be important against Leicester, as it was when they faced them in the FA Cup and were knocked out of the competition. A three-man midfield might be worth fielding in this match and the likes of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba could be the right fit for this match. Matic has not played a lot of minutes this season and seems to be a player to bring on in the late stages of matches to protect a lead and help the defence. However, he has a lot to give and could well help United for a period of time. Of course, he may not last the full 90 minutes with Leicester’s young side pressuring him. Paul Pogba will give his all and Van de Beek will need the regular match time to find his feet at the club.

Forwards: Amad Diallo, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford

A 4-3-3 formation could be a good change for United at this stage of the season, giving a much stronger midfield, without the pivot. Mason Greenwood could lead the attack as the lone striker in this formation, fresh from his goal against Villa which saw him break Wayne Rooney’s record of 15 goals as a teenager for United, scoring his 16th Premier League goal. Amad Diallo was withdrawn from the match day squad against Villa and could well be ready to start for his club in a match that will have less pressure on him. He needs to start at some time – it might work well for him and United. Marcus Rashford could start on the left, with Daniel James injured, although Solskjaer might decide to bring some youth players into the squad.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Scott Mctominay; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga

Three substitutes is all Solskjaer will have in the Premier League, so he will need to pack his bench with players who can make an impact. Dean Henderson will no doubt be on the bench, refreshing himself to start against Liverpool on Thursday. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams could be available with at least one of them expected to be used. In midfield, Juan Mata, who could actually start, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Scott Mctominay could also be available, if required – there is a good chance they could be. In attack, Edinson Cavani could be kept for Thursday with Anthony Elanga also added to the squad, depending on whether he plays for the U23s on Monday evening as they play their last Premier League 2 fixture of the season.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Champions League confirmed with United close to finishing second. Time to beat Leicester City?

Manchester United -v- Leicester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 11 May 2021, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Ian Hussin, Richard West

Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

Manchester United: WLWDWW

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

Leicester City: LDWWWL

Newcastle United 4-2 L, Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 3-0 W, Southampton 1-0 W, West Ham United 3-2 L

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood have scored 73 goals between them this season with Leicester City’s whole squad scoring 89 goals this season.

Manchester United Goals: 27 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Edinson Cavani, 11 – 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

It will be very hard to deny that United have progressed this season. They currently have 70 points in the Premier League this season – four more than last season, and have already qualified for next seasons UEFA Champions League, which was achieved after the final match of the season last season. In the last six matches, United have won four, drawn once and lost once, with the defeat coming against AS Roma last week with United earning a place in the UEFA Europa League final on aggregate. United have scored 16 goals, conceded seven, keeping two clean sheets.

Leicester City Goals: 18 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 15 – Jamie Vardy, 13 – Harvey Barnes, 11 – James Maddison, 8 – Youri Tielemans, 4 – Own Goal, 3 – James Justin, Ayoze Pérez, 2 – Marc Albrighton, Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Dennis Praet, Cengiz Ünder, 1 – Daniel Amartey, Hamza Choudhury, Wilfred Ndidi, Luke Thomas

Leicester are not have a great end to the season.They have not won in the last two matches, losing to Newcastle United and drawing with Southampton, after beating them in the FA Cup semi-final. They weekend they will take on Chelsea for the FA Cup, which could end their season on a high, but they will need to be on top of their game. There is a chance that Brendan Rodgers’ side could miss out on Champions League football against next season with Chelsea leapfrogging them this weekend after they beat Manchester City. Leicester will need to beat United to have a chance of staying in the top four ahead of their last two matches.

Team News: Four players out of action for United with Leicester also likely to miss for players ahead of the Old Trafford clash on Tuesday evening.

Phil Jones (knee), Anthony Martial (knee) and Daniel James (other) have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future, although Martial is back in individual training and could be back in action for the final match of the season, which will give United a boost ahead of the UEFA Europa League final. Harry Maguire (ankle) came off against Aston Villa on Sunday and has already been ruled out of the clash with his former club but there is much hope that his injury is not as bad as it seems, although he will undergo a scan of his ankle on Monday to find out the seriousness of the injury. Hopefully he could be back in action against Liverpool.

Wes Morgan (lower back), Harvey Barnes (knee) and James Justin (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford to face United for the third time this season. Jonny Evans (ankle/foot) is currently being assessed regarding his injury and has a 50% chance of featuring against his former club. However, it is likely that he too will miss the clash with United. Leicester were dealt a blow in the 4-2 defeat to Newcastle United on Friday evening and now sit fourth in the Premier League with Chelsea leapfrogging them after their victory over Manchester City on Saturday. It is possible that Leicester lose a UEFA Champions League position again.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer will need to rest players against Leicester keeping his side fresh for the Liverpool clash on Thursday.

Solskjaer will need to rest a number of his players ahead of the clash with Liverpool on Thursday evening with United playing three Premier League matches in five days after beating Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. David De Gea should return in goal having faces AS Roma on Thursday evening. Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles could all start with Aaron Wan-Bissaka keeping his place in defence. In midfield, a three-man midfield of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, keeping his place from Sunday could help with Amad Diallo, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford linking up as a three-man attack.

Match Prediction: 29 matches played between United and Leicester in the Premier League with United winning 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United looking to avenge FA Cup defeat?

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City

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

copyright: JW