With 38 top-flight titles and eight European Cups between them, Liverpool and Manchester United are English football’s two most successful sides. And the rivalry they enjoy is one of the hottest in the game.
They meet again on Sunday, with the Reds hosting the men from Old Trafford at Anfield.
Top of the Premier League and emerging as a genuine threat to Manchester City’s domestic dominance, Liverpool will be confident of picking up their first league win over United since 2014.
However, despite United’s indifferent form, Jose Mourinho will be confident of setting his side up to remain unbeaten against Liverpool for the ninth Premier League meeting in a row.
Here, we preview the weekend’s standout fixture.
Liverpool v Man United preview – John Aldridge and Brian McClair
Liverpool are in imperious fettle as they prepare to welcome United to Anfield. The Reds have won five Premier League games in a row, the most recent of which a resounding 4-0 win away to Bournemouth.
Klopp’s men are still unbeaten in the top flight after 16 games, with just three draws.
Liverpool’s backline has improved immeasurably over the last 12 months, thanks to the £75million January signing of Virgil van Dijk and the Arrival of world-class goalkeeper Alisson this summer.
The Reds have conceded just six goals in the Premier League thus far, putting them on track to set a new divisional record for the fewest goals shipped in a season.
By contrast, United are suffering at the back. With 26 goals already conceded, they are just two shy of equalling their tally for the entirety of last season.
Last week’s 4-1 win over Fulham took sixth-placed United back into a positive goal difference, but they remain a full eight points off the top four and 16 behind their upcoming hosts.
It’ll be interesting to see how the home side set up on Sunday. Klopp has alternated between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 formations this season and still appears to be undecided on his strongest midfield line-up.
The front three picks itself, but whether Mohamed Salah is deployed on the right flank or centrally as a striker, with Xherdan Shaqiri them coming in and Roberto Firmino dropping deep, is one of the more intriguing points.
Likewise Klopp’s midfield dilemma. Summer recruits Fabinho and Naby Keita have impressed in recent weeks but it seems the German tactician still places more trust in captain Jordan Henderson, veteran James Milner and the in-form Georginio Wijnaldum.
Klopp’s opposite number has been famously conservative in recent trips to Anfield. Indeed, the season before last saw Jose Mourinho effective set up with a back six, his 4-3-3 reconfiguring to become 6-3-1 during long spells without the ball.
Unsurprisingly, then, the last two meetings between these clubs in front of the Kop have resulted in 0-0 draws. Will Mourinho reintroduce Paul Pogba into his line-up to inject some creativity, or will he once again revert to his cautious norm?
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – After a slower-than-expected start to the season, Salah is back to his best.
His spectacular hat-trick against Bournemouth last week took the 26-year-old Egyptian’s league tally for the season to ten, making him the English top flight’s joint-highest scorer.
And he was on fire in the Champions League in midweek, breezing past the highly rated Kalidou Koulibaly – a reported United target – to score the only goal in a crucial win over Napoli at Anfield.
Anthony Martial, Manchester United – With seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season, Martial is United’s top performer.
The gifted 23-year-old has won Mourinho over after Alexis Sanchez’s arrival last January affected his first-team prospects for several months.
Blessed with tremendous pace, mesmerising dribbling skills and the coolest of heads when presented with scoring chances, Martial, a slight injury doubt for Sunday, will be hoping to score once again versus the side he made his United debut against in 2015.
*Odds subject to change
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