Liverpool host Man Utd at Anfield in the Premier League on Tuesday night. It is a must-win match for Jurgen Klopp’s team and will take the Reds to the top of the table and put pressure on Man City to win on Wednesday. United’s victory against bottom-placed Norwich came thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, his second in five league matches. Liverpool won 5-0 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture so there could be some real fear in the United ranks for this trip to Merseyside.
With the strongest squad Klopp has had since taking over, Liverpool are continuing like a well-oiled machine. With 18 wins in 21 matches (including winning the Carabao Cup final on penalties), they are still very much in the running for a quadruple. Their only matches not won in that spell were two Champions League second legs when already two goals up on aggregate – a 1-0 home loss to Inter Milan and 3-3 home draw with Benfica – plus a 2-2 draw at Man City in the league.
After winning 3-1 at Benfica, the Reds fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to take that point at the Etihad. They rested most of their starting XI in the 3-3 home draw with Benfica (having led 3-1) before beat Man City 3-2 at Wembley having led 3-0 against a tired, depleted Citizens XI. Ibrahima Konate scored the opener before a Sadio Mane brace.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp has a clean bill of health for this match and is set to do a little rotation to freshen up his side. Joel Matip should return at centre back after two starts in a row for Ibrahima Konate. Jordan Henderson is pushing for a recall in midfield and should he start, then either Thiago Alcantara or Naby Keita could get a breather ahead of the Merseyside derby.
In attack, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are options to come in. It’s likely that one could replace Luis Diaz but Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are set to be the other two forwards who start.
100% focus is on this massive match. Liverpool got the job done in the FA Cup final on Saturday and will have immediately switched all attention to a must-win league match against a heated rival.
The Reds will look to dominate from the start, backed by a very vocal Anfield crowd. Liverpool would love to harm Man Utd’s chances of a top-four finish so expect a fast start.
Man Utd Form
With just two wins in their last eight matches, Man Utd look miles off their best right now. Both of those victories came 3-2 at home in matches where they surrendered a lead and needed a Cristiano Ronaldo hattrick to bail them out both times.
This current run of poor form has seen the side knocked out of the UEFA Champions League (1-1 away, 1-0 home loss) by Atletico Madrid, a 4-1 humiliation by Man City and home draws against 19th placed Watford and mid-table Leicester City. Possibly worst of all was their penultimate match as they lost 1-0 at a struggling Everton side who were low on confidence and didn’t even need to play well to win.
Man Utd Team News
Ralf Rangnick has a depleted squad at his disposal. Luke Shaw’s season could be over and both of his starting defensive midfielders, Fred and Scott McTominay are set to miss this match. Raphael Varane is the one absentee who has a shot at being back for this trip to Anfield.
With two holding midfielders out, Paul Pogba played that role against Norwich. Nemanja Matic will surely come into the XI alongside him for this away match though. Anthony Elanga should be preferred to the out-of-sorts Marcus Rashford with Jesse Lingard also let on the bench. Alex Telles will continue to start in Shaw’s usual spot.
Man Utd Motivation
Motivation for this match will be high, with fourth spot still very much achievable. Considering United’s form and low confidence, some trepidation may be visible in the ranks that they could get thrashed at Anfield.
A relatively defensive setup is likely with counterattacks used. If 2-0 down, they could retreat and try to focus on damage limitation rather than chasing a result.
Liverpool have won 10 of their last 11 PL matches
Liverpool have netted 2+ goals in 6 of their last 7 PL matches
Liverpool have won their last 2 matches against Man Utd 5-0 and 4-2
Man Utd have won 2 of their last 8 matches in all comps
United have lost just 1 of their last 11 away matches (5 draws, 5 defeats)
Man Utd are 8 away matches without a clean sheet (13 conceded)
The Reds look a much stronger team, in better form, with fewer injuries and they won 5-0 at Old Trafford. This match has a Liverpool win and a potential comfortable margin written all over it.