WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) gets the gig for the biggest match of the year so far. Will United have the last laugh or can Liverpool march on towards a first title in 26 years?
Manchester United v Liverpool | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
The biggest clubs in English football meet again on Sunday in what could be a rehearsal for the EFL Cup final.
Both clubs are in fine league form. Liverpool sit second with 44 points from just 20 games whilst Manchester United, although in sixth place, have won nine on the bounce in all competitions.
The Reds haven’t won a Premier League title for 26 years, the same time period that United went without from 1967 to 1993. Could it be fate that Liverpool lift the trophy this season as these two clubs alternate in English football dominance?
Manchester United will have their chance to play a big part in the outcome on Sunday. A win for the Reds would pull Liverpool closer to themselves and could see Chelsea pull further away. Jose Mourinho’s boys are certainly not out of it either with only 10 points between them and the league leaders.
This meeting sees a contrast in styles. Liverpool play with a much higher intensity under Jürgen Klopp’s self-titled ‘heavy metal’ football whereas United dominate the ball with physicality and slowly grind teams down in a typical Mourinho fashion.
Fortress Old Trafford
Travelling to Old Trafford has been a bit of a nightmare for Liverpool throughout the Premier League era. It’s not the fairest comparison to look at considering the Red Devils dominance but since 2010 when United began to lose their stranglehold on the league, they’ve still been getting the better of their nemesis.
Manchester United have a W8-D1-L1 record against the Reds at Old Trafford since 2010. Liverpool’s one saving grace a 3-0 win under Brendan Rodgers in 2014, including a fine display from Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez; two players that the home fans loved to hate.
Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip are all unavailable for the Redmen this weekend. Arguably their three most important players this season after Philippe Coutinho. Thankfully, the little Brazilian made his return from injury against Saints in midweek.
Eight of United’s 10 home wins in all competitions this season have come by two or more goals but a victory by this margin or more looks unlikely against Klopp’s side who’ve been competitive throughout this campaign.
Side with the form horse
The Reds have been poor in the last two cup games against Plymouth and Southampton. It’s not been the best preparation for this huge clash and it’s also added to what was already a busy January for the club.
Jose Mourinho managed to do a job on Liverpool with a 0-0 at Anfield in October when getting his side to raise their game at a time when they were not playing well. I think we will see them go one better now with confidence flowing through the squad.
Man United aren’t the best price you’ll ever see at 6/5 (Betfair) but history dictates that it’s a fair price and I believe they have the upper hand when it comes to mental strength. Something which often decides these encounters.
Manchester United v Liverpool – Manchester United to win (6/5 Betfair)