The match preview: Manchester United v Liverpool (Premier League)

Old Trafford has not been a happy hunting ground for Liverpool in recent years – a win against United on Sunday would see Liverpool overcome another hurdle in their quest for the Premier League title.

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Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to face arch rivals Manchester United as they look to extend their winning start to the season.

The Reds can match two Premier League records if they bring three points back to Liverpool on Sunday. It would see them match Manchester City’s 18-game winning streak, and they would also match Chelsea record of the best start to the season which they achieved in 2005 – nine wins.

Manchester United’s season is quite the opposite, their poor from at the back end of last season has extended into this one. Two wins in their opening eight games have seen them make their worst ever start to a premier league season.


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The Red Devils lost their third match of the season two weeks ago, a late goal from Matthew Longstaff gave Newcastle an unlikely three points. Despite dominating possession United failed to create much out of their 12 efforts on goal, only three found the target. They had 70% possession yet they failed to create any meaningful chances.

Manchester United have won just one of their last five league games. This win came against a Leicester City side who failed to show up on the day, yet the only difference between the two sides was a Marcus Rashford penalty.

Two draws and two defeats in the other four games has started to put pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his side have failed to scored more than once in seven of their eight league game, their defence isn’t much better, they have only conceded more than once on two occasions but they have only kept two clean sheets in the league.

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Liverpool extended to advantage at the top of the League to eight points two weeks ago. A late James Milner penalty saw the Reds’ claim a vital three points after James Maddison cancelled out Sadio Mané’s first half goal. This late goal proved to be more important than expected after Adama Traoré scored twice against Man City to put a sizeable gap between the two title chasers.

This result saw Liverpool claim three victories in a week without performing at 100%, a 1-0 win away to Sheffield United was quickly followed by a 4-3 over RB Salzburg in the Champions League. Both the decisive goals were scored at 70 minutes. Liverpool often won ugly last season, and to see it carried into this season means it will be very difficult for any team to take points of the Reds.

Team news

Xherdan Shaqiri is the only major concern for Liverpool going into the game, he missed both of Switzerland’s game during the international break. Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker are both in contention to start the game – Salah picked up a small knock against Leicester while Alisson could return after being out of action for almost 10 weeks.

As good as Adrián has been, if Alisson is available he will start, the Brazilian has a more commanding presence about him and he has better distribution of the, Joël Matip signed a new contract on Friday and will he will likely replace Dejan Lovren in defence.

Jürgen Klopp’s trusted midfield three of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Wijnaldum will probably start the game, though a player like Naby Keïta may help Liverpool break down Manchester United – but he is being nursed back to full fitness.

As always the usual front three will start, the trio have failed to find the back of the net at Old Trafford during their Liverpool careers and Sunday would be an excellent time for them to score, as long as we don’t concede.

Manchester United have quite a long injury least, 12 players are all doubtful to make the match day squad. David de Gea and Paul Pogba are the two major concerns. Ole ruled them out on in an interview during the week, but he didn’t look convincing when he was saying it so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did play a part.

Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are all touch and go, though Martial hasn’t played in almost two months and it would be unwise to play him in such a demanding game.

Sergio Romero will start in goal in the absence of David de Gea – the Argentine has yet to concede a league goal at Old Trafford.

Maguire has had a decent start to his united career, but he has been caught out on numerous occasions. His lack of pace and mobility often causes him problems while his passing is sometimes erratic, and he is yet to show why United spent £85m to acquire his services.

A midfield two of Fred and Scott McTominay is quite shocking and lack any technical ability, with Juan Mata supplying the front three of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira. This could be one of Liverpool’s easiest games of the season – everyone says form goes out the window in these games, but I can’t see that midfield getting a sniff against ours.

Prediction

In an ideal world Liverpool head back to Liverpool late Sunday evening after embarrassing United by four or five goals, but we have to be realistic. Old Trafford and United will be well up for this, if Liverpool score early then we can put the game to bed quite quickly. The only way I see United scoring is James or Rashford getting in behind our defence from a long ball.

Liverpool drew this game last season, thinking it would be a good result in the title race thinking it would be a good result. In theory it was as nobody expected City to win their remaining 14 fixtures, this season I expect our mind-set to be different, Jürgen Klopp will want as many points as he can and not settle for a draw.

We have only won once at Old Trafford this decade and if we were to add to that on Sunday, it would be a huge result. Liverpool can make hard work of this, but if play anywhere near 80% I think we will have too much quality for them.

Predicted final score: Manchester United 0-2 Liverpool

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