Manchester United vs Liverpool is still considered as one of the biggest derbies in English football by so many fans and football experts. The clash will take place on Sunday (20th October) in the mythical home of The Red Devils – Old Trafford. The two sides are in completely different positions, but the current form in those encounters doesn’t matter.
Manchester United are finding themselves on the 12th position in the league. Not many people could have expected such a poor start of the season from them. So far, the Red Devils managed to win just two games out of 8. They also made 3 draws and were beaten on 3 other occasions. The face of the team is not typical for their fans, the style of play is unacceptable and many things must be changed if United wants to move up from the 12th spot in the league.
Liverpool are sitting comfortably on the top of the league with 8 points clear ahead of Man City, and it is just the middle of October. Jürgen Klopp needed time to build the team he wanted and the style of play, so now the hard work pays off. The Reds’ style is recognizable, but the most important thing is that this team manages to win even when they are not having their best day on the pitch. There is still plenty of time until the silverware in the Premier League is being given, but Liverpool are making huge steps towards the crown.
Despite their unenviable position, the team from Manchester has the 4th best defensive record in the league with 8 goals conceded in David de Gea’s net. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team will be boosted by the expected return of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw. Bissaka was not able tho play in the past 3 matches of his team, while the ex-Southampton player last played for the club at the end of August due to an injury.
For Liverpool, there is also some big news this week. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is fit and ready to start on Sunday, but he didn’t play since the first round of the League. It is up to Jürgen Klopp if he will start the Brazilian, or choose Adrian instead, as he impressed with his performance in the opening 8 matches. Another key player is ready to make his return and it is the central defender Joel Matip. He managed to recover from his injury during the international break and now he is ready to start for Liverpool again.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was facing a lot of trouble after the departure of Ander Herrera in the summer and the injuries of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic. The Norwegian coach was forced to use Fred, but it is no secret that the Brazilian is not a first choice. Scott McTominay is among the players who play on a regular basis, so most probably he will get his chance again. According to WhoScored, Paul Pogba is recovered from his ankle injury and is ready to step in the starting XI. The Frenchman will have to use his vision and dribble in order to organize Man United’s play.
No surprises are expected in Liverpool’s midfield. Fabinho will start in front of the defense in the position of anchorman. the Brazilian played 10 mins for his national team during the week against Nigeria, so he will be fresh enough to stop United’s attacks. He should be well-supported by the team’s captain Jordon Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored a brace against Belarus in a Euro Cup Qualification this week. Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might come in as a substitution if Liverpool are out of ideas when attacking.
Manchester United are struggling when it comes to scoring goals this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjær sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter this summer because he didn’t fit the style of play of his team. His attacking options are Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. But many experts claim that Rashford is not suitable for the position of a striker, because this is not his natural position. The winger scored only 3 goals since the start of the campaign. The other option is Anthony Martial, but he didn’t play since August. However, reports are saying that he will be able to take part versus Liverpool.
Since his arrival in the club, Ole Gunnar Solskjær likes the counter-attacking style of play. especially against teams that want to possess the ball, Solskjær is using this approach. And if his team had some success in the second part of the last season, things are completely different now. Except for the convincing 4-0 victory over Chelsea in the opening day, United struggle with their style of play against their opponents. It will be interesting what will be Solskjær’s ideas on Sunday and if his players would be able to perform them.
The situation for Liverpool is kind of similar for them as it was the last season when they had to visit Old Trafford. This February Klopp and his men went to Old Trafford and approached very cowardly towards their opponents. The visitors should change this mentality because there won’t be better opportunities to beat Manchester United in their home. Liverpool have the experience and the motivation to get the 3 points.
What can we expect from the match
No matter the team’s form, this is going to be a tight match. The fact these two teams face each other makes it even more special for the fans. According to the bookmakers, Liverpool are the favorite here and there is no question why. But Manchester United will be boosted by some players returning from injuries. They need to start playing better as soon as possible because their hopes for Top4 finish might be gone even until Christmas.
For Liverpool, the match is equally important. Having in mind Manchester City’s problems lately and the amount of missed points, it is very important for Jürgen Klopp and his players to keep the tempo. The opponent is vulnerable, but the game won’t be easy. The Reds should go out on Sunday and show why they are on the top of the league, so they can make a real statement.