The single most crucial away league match remaining for Liverpool in their calendar features a visit to their fiercest old rivals – Manchester United.
Manchester United vs Liverpool Preview and Prediction
The stakes couldn’t be much higher; a title challenge on the line for the Reds, in a stadium where they seldom win, facing a team immensely full of confidence and unbeaten in domestic matches since caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over.
Fact of Interest:
- The last time Man Utd or Liverpool recorded back to wins against each other in all competitions was the streak of 4 consecutive wins for Man Utd from December 2014 to January 2016.
- Liverpool haven’t won at Old Trafford since March 2014, a 3-0 win featuring goals from former Reds Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard.
- Man Utd have won 7 of their 12 home league games this season. They’re currently enjoying a streak of 10 unbeaten matches at home, and 9 overall, the best record of all sides in the league at present. That said, their last home win in all competitions was a month ago against Brighton. They’ve also not kept a home clean sheet since the goalless draw against Crystal Palace in November 2018.
- Liverpool have the 2nd best away record in the league with 9 wins and 30 points from 13 matches. They have the best away defence in the league in terms of goals conceded (just 8). They’ve also scored at least once in every single away game thus far this season.
- Man Utd have scored 48% of their goals in the latter 15 minute periods of each half.
- Liverpool have scored two thirds of their goals in the second half of matches.
- Mohamed Salah (3 matches) and Roberto Firmino (7 matches) have never scored against Man United in a league fixture.
- Sadio Mane’s first league goal against Man United came in the recent 3-1 win at Anfield, Jose Mourinho’s final game in charge of the Red Devils.
- Roberto Firmino’s solitary goal against Man United came in one of his 2 Europa League appearances against the Red Devils.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 5 goals in 16 matches against Liverpool, but none yet while playing for Man United.
- Anthony Martial (7 matches) and Marcus Rashford (5 matches) have each scored twice against Liverpool.
- Paul Pogba has never scored against Liverpool.
Both clubs had to navigate league matches early in midweek, with Man Utd enjoying a clinical win over Chelsea in the FA Cup and Liverpool earning a draw against German champions Bayern Munich in their Round of 16 UEFA Champions League tie.
Man Utd have a number of mid term absentees to injuries, being Valencia, Darmian, Lingard and Martial. Liverpool remain without Joe Gomez due to long term injury, while doubts remain over the full fitness of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Dejan Lovren, though the former is almost ready to return to the squad following a long term ACL injury.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Man Utd||Liverpool|
|Current Season Record||Played 26, Won 15, Drawn 6||Played 26, Won 20, Lost 1|
|Current Season Top Scorers||Pogba (11), Martial/Rashford (9)||Salah (17), Mane (12)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Man Utd 4 Wins, 4 Draws, Liverpool 2 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Old Trafford||Man Utd 7 Wins, 2 Draws, Liverpool 1 Win|
|Last Season’s Result||Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool|
|Odds of Interest (as at 19 Feb)||Man Utd||Liverpool|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 2.52)||2.09||1.31|
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Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has implemented a fair degree of tactical flexibility in his tenure as caretaker and the result has been highly effective in producing a resilient Man Utd who focus on creativity from wide areas. The team’s systems have varied from 433, 4222, 4312 and 4231 with specific focus on affording as much attacking freedom as possible to Paul Pogba. The emotional significance of this fixture won’t be lost on Man Utd’s players. The Reds visit Old Trafford in need of points to restore a lead at the Premier League summit and Man Utd would delight very much in preventing this for their oldest rivals.
Assuming a clean bill of health for the current players, it’s anticipated that the 4312 system will be used in hosting Liverpool. The back five should remain largely intact from the team that travelled to Stamford Bridge – De Gea in goal with Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw across the back from right to left. In midfield, the combative double pivot of Matic and Herrera, will provide considerable challenges for the Liverpool midfield, especially in how they will allow star player Paul Pogba license to move further forward to wreak havoc with his attacking flair. Injuries make the front pair an obvious choice in Lukaku and Rashford, but the only question to solve is whether Solskjaer will take another chance on the struggling Alexis Sanchez, or the experienced veteran Juan Mata.
Jurgen Klopp surprised most with a recent revert to 433, after the 4231 system had produced some spectacular goal flush victories, including the 5-1 demolition of Arsenal and the wins over Crystal Palace, Brighton and Wolves. The disruptions to the team’s defence haven’t helped either with the Reds conceding 5 goals in their last 4 away matches. Nonetheless, Klopp’s side remain dangerous in attack, and particularly effective in their transitional play, even if recent matches have started to raise questions about their creative efficacy.
The 433 is broadly expected to make a return against Man Utd, featuring Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk and Matip. With Milner having been partially rested against Bayern, the expectation is that he may well feature in the middle against Man Utd alongside the impressive anchoring of Fabinho and the versatility of Wijnaldum. The star studded front 3 of Mane, Firmino and Salah should remain unchanged as well.
Form massively favours Man Utd; if there is a venue that seems to disrupt Liverpool, it is Old Trafford, where Liverpool have failed to win any of the last five visits. Man Utd are the form team in the league, and their motivation for this fixture in particular won’t be lacking. Solskjaer will be especially keen to ensure that unlike his predecessor, he doesn’t end up with defeat to the old enemy.
Liverpool’s defence has been leaky of late, but even mixed form from Alisson and Van Dijk doesn’t change Liverpool being a very tough team to beat. Defensive issues aside, Liverpool remain one of the most dangerous sides in wide areas and transitional football, both nuances that Man Utd struggle to contain. The match significance won’t be lost on Liverpool either, especially with no appearance from Manchester City to apply further pressure on Salah and company this weekend.
Much of this fixture will be solved in midfield; Man Utd’s trio of Pogba, Matic and Herrera have been excellent in recent matches and the Frenchman in particular has produced a number of dominant performances, leaping to the top of the Red Devil scoring charts in the brief period under Solskjaer’s leadership. By contrast, Liverpool’s midfield has been inconsistent and lacking in creativity, and if they produce a showing similar to that on display in their recent draws to Leicester and West Ham, it may be too much to expect the energy of Robertson and Alexander Arnold supplying the front 3 to compensate accordingly. Man Utd may lack some of the talents across the board compared to Liverpool and their defence and attack may be less threatening, but their form, record against Liverpool and stronger midfield should just about move them over the line in another back to back win over their rivals at Old Trafford.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest EPL Betting Odds