Premier League leaders Liverpool entertain fierce rivals Manchester United in this weekend’s crunch meeting at Anfield. The Reds have played under their opponents’ shadows over the past three decades but they have their best chance of redeeming themselves as they are presently leading the standings in the quest for the long-awaited crown.
United, however, are pretty much out of the title race with a 16-point difference between them and their close neighbours but there is plenty of pride at stake when the sixth-placed side make the trip to the table-toppers. Jose Mourinho’s side have not dominated the Reds in recent years but they have nonetheless remained undefeated in the top-flight against them since 2014.
The previous encounter between the teams was at Old Trafford earlier in March where United secured a 2-1 triumph. The match was pretty much decided by a quick-fire brace from Marcus Rashford in the opening 30 minutes while Liverpool’s consolation came in the second period came via an Eric Bailly own goal. The game witnessed another tactical masterclass from Mourinho who tasked Ashley Young with the duties of restricting the impact of Mohamed Salah, which he managed with flying colours. That performance enabled the Englishman return to the national team fray and represent the Three Lions at the summer World Cup.
Players to watch for:
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool: The Egypt international started the season in a slow fashion where he was guilty of squandering chances in and around the box. However, as the season has progressed, he has started to find his feet across all competitions and he comes into the weekend clash with four goals in the past two matches including a sublime hat-trick on the road to Bournemouth. Despite the positives, the league’s joint-top scorer has plenty to prove versus United after drawing blank in both encounter last term. Young will once more will be tasked with the job of restricting Salah’s movement into the box and it will be interesting to see whether the Egyptian has learned from the previous campaign and can nullify the Englishman’s presence around him.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United: With Romelu Lukaku generally misfiring, Rashford has recently become the go-to man upfront and he goes into the game with two goals and two assists in the past two matches in all competitions. The 21-year-old has previously been guilty of squandering clear-cut chances but he has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and his pace from the wider positions may certainly provide a threat to the Reds’ backline. Rashford outsmarted compatriot Trent Alexander-Arnold during the opening half an hour at Old Trafford back in March and the left flank may once more be the area to exploit with the latter deemed a huge doubt for the game. James Milner or Fabinho could replace Alexander-Arnold but neither are specialists in the right-back position.
United have generally turned up for the big games with good performances and against Liverpool, there will be the added motivation from their side to avoid a damaging defeat.
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Image – Getty