Eternal rivals Liverpool and Manchester United lock horns at Anfield on Sunday at 4:30pm (UK time) with a place at the top of the Premier League table at stake.
United knocked reigning champions Liverpool off top spot with a 1-0 win over Burnley in mid-week, creating a three-point gap now separating the two sides.
Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Man Utd XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford
How to live stream Liverpool vs Man Utd online:
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Where to watch Liverpool vs Man Utd on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Premier League
- US: Peacock
Liverpool v Man Utd build-up, previous lineups & injury news:
For a while, it looked like Liverpool might run away with the Premier League title as they did last season, with Jurgen Klopp’s men mopping up points while those around them continued to slip up.
However, a centre-back injury crisis and a loss of form in front of goal have led to the Reds taking just two points from their last three Premier League games, drawing with West Brom and Newcastle before losing away at Southampton, all while scoring just once along the way. A 4-1 win over an Aston Villa academy side in the FA Cup has done little improve the mood on the red half of Merseyside.
By contrast, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t be much happier right now. His side’s narrow win over Burnley extended an 11-game unbeaten run for the Red Devils, who face Liverpool as league leaders for the first time since January 2013 during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final title-winning season as manager.
Another win here would leave United six points clear of their old nemesis, although a victory for Liverpool would restore them as leaders.
- Liverpool (vs Aston Villa): Kelleher; N. Williams, R. Williams, Fabinho, Milner; Jones, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Minamino, Mane.
- Man Utd (vs Burnley): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Rashford, Fernandes, Martial; Cavani.
Liverpool remain without long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota, while Joel Matip and Naby Keita are major doubts. After making his first five appearances on the road, Thiago is set to finally make his Liverpool home debut.
Anthony Martial is a doubt after picking up a knock against Burnley, while Victor Lindelof faces a late fitness test. Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Facundo Pellistri are all out.
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Mohamed Salah ended his drought against Manchester United with the second goal in a 2-0 victory for Liverpool the last time these two sides met and given the Reds’ recent struggles in the final third, fans will be hoping for more of the same on Sunday.
Despite Liverpool failing to score in two Premier League games and Salah firing blanks in his last three, the Egyptian is still the English top-flight’s top scorer with 13 goals so far, one clear of his nearest rival, Son Heung-min. If nothing else, Salah’s recent goal against a young Aston Villa side in the FA Cup should serve as a confidence boost and a reminder of where the goal is ahead of this vital title clash.
And if fans needed any more indication as to just how big Sunday’s game is, even Salah himself has talked up its importance in defining the Premier League table.
“The game is really big at the moment, especially because now they are first and we are second,” the former Chelsea man said recently. “They are playing well this season as well. It’s a good game but at the end of the day we need to win that game, I think that’s the most important thing.
“I always say it’s just one game, it’s only one game. But because this one, if they win they are going to be six points [ahead of Liverpool] and if you win you’re going to be the same, it’s a little bit special this game.”
Keeping close to Salah in the Golden Boot standings is Man Utd’s undoubted hero of the season so far, Bruno Fernandes. The Portugal international has netted 11 Premier League goals so far in 2020/21 while his record in December was particularly impressive, notching three goals and four assists in the English top flight. This was enough to see him with the Player of the Month award, making him the first to pick up the accolade four times in a single calendar year.
Incredibly, despite only being at Man Utd for a year, Fernandes has already won more Player of the Month awards than the likes of Salah, Sadio Mane, Eden Hazard (all three), Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez (2), while he is just two behind Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard.
Only five players have won more Premier League Player of the Month awards than Bruno Fernandes:
What a player, what a signing. pic.twitter.com/ajHb4aKOdV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 15, 2021
Impressive though Fernandes’ form has been, he faced criticism for his supposed lack of influence in big games and, indeed, his goal and assist in a recent 2-2 draw with Leicester remain his only direct goal contributions another member of last season’s top six sides.
“It’s not easy winning football trophies. Fernandes has had praise for the last few months and people have been comparing him to Cantona. He didn’t really do much tonight,” ex-United captain Roy Keane said following the Red Devils’ 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Man City, during which Fernandes failed to score and created just one chance.
“The top players turn up in the big occasions. And that’s what the Cantonas used to do, they get their hands on trophies. That’s where this team are a little bit short.”
Fernandes is the in-form player heading into this clash. Now it’s time to prove his ‘big-game doubters’ wrong and fire United into a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Premier League 2020/21 recent form:
- Liverpool: LDDWW
- Man Utd: WWWDW
Scoreline prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd
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