One of English football’s greatest rivalries resumes on Sunday and there will be plenty at stake when Manchester United welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. After a disappointing run of results, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are at risk of being left behind by the Premier League’s top three; a loss against the Reds would see them slip to seven points off their Northwest rivals with Manchester City and Chelsea favorites to pick up wins of their own this week.
Equally, that means that a win for Liverpool could be a real statement about their title qualifications. Recent history is on their side, United have won only one of the last 10 meetings between these two in the Premier League.
Manchester United: It certainly makes for a thrilling spectacle, but is the lustre starting to wear off the string of late wins Solskjaer’s side have put together of late? Certainly the sense of an unsustainable edifice only grows as Cristiano Ronaldo bails them out time and time again in the Champions League. It said everything that in what might have been a moment of jubilance after beating Atalanta, former United midfielder Paul Scholes offered a stark warning for this weekend’s game.
“If it was that brilliant and that good, everyone’s smiling and everyone’s happy,” said Scholes. “Go and do that on Sunday against Liverpool and see what happens. Imagine Jurgen Klopp at home watching that game in the first half. He’ll be rubbing his hands together.”
Liverpool: Thiago may still be unavailable but the return to contention of Curtis Jones offers Jurgen Klopp a welcome option in midfield even if things have been holding up well without him. The youngster was missing against Watford and Atletico Madrid with a muscle issue but could feature at the weekend.
With Jordan Henderson and Fabinho likely starters, it will be a battle between Jones and James Milner for the other spot. The former offers more progressive passing and potentially the ability to deliver that killer ball to tee up Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, but Klopp can be utterly sure of what he will get from Milner, who was excellent in both victories over the last few days. These are good selection dilemmas to have, that is for sure.