Manchester United v Liverpool, Old Trafford, 17:30 kick off, Sky Sports 1.
One of the oldest rivalries in football has come around and, as always, it will be a heated affair.
Manchester United currently sit on the same points as Liverpool in the Premier League table. Both sides have won twice, drawn once and lost once.
Liverpool started well in the Premier League, beating Bournemouth and Stoke 1-0, but since then, they have drawn to Arsenal and lost 3-0 to West Ham United.
The West Ham game saw Liverpool’s joint top goal scorer, Philippe Coutinho, get booked twice and so will not feature in the Old Trafford match up later today.
The back four of Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and new full backs Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez, has seen Liverpool keep 3 consecutive clean sheets.
The two teams come into the game off of the back of losses so both will be looking to bounce back against their arch rival.
Liverpool have spent £78.34 million on 9 players in the transfer market this season. They have acquired: Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and James Milner, all on a free and; Allan (£497k), Taiwo Awoniyi (£770k), Joe Gomez (£3.43 million), Nathaniel Clyne (£12.39 million, Roberto Firmino (£28.70 million) and, Christian Benteke (£32.55 million). 5 of these players (Milner, Gomez, Clyne, Firmino and Benteke) have featured in each of Liverpool’s games.
Liverpool’s major loss this season was Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. He was their stand out play after the loss of Luis Suarez but once rumours came in that he may move to another club, the Liverpool fans turned on him, so it’s no surprise that he left.
Over the last 10 years Liverpool and Manchester United have played 26 competitive matches against each other. In only 7 of those 26 games did Liverpool take all 3 points. The Red Devils have beaten the Merseyside Reds 17 times in the last 10 years.
United’s real domination can be seen by looking into the Old Trafford games. In the last decade, Liverpool have won just 2 games, and United have claimed 11 wins.
There have been no draws in this fixture in the last 10 years.
Going into this weekend, we read a fantastic article on Van Gaal Versus Mourinho – Who Cracks First? – One that can only bee Jose Mourinho as Louis van Gaal seems to be finding his feet this season at Manchester United. There is no doubt that Mourinho is under massive pressure at Chelsea now. Next manager to be sacked in the Premier League?
The biggest match up of the game is between Benteke and Smalling. For United, the key to winning the game will be keeping Liverpool’s big sharpshooter at bay. If Smalling man marks Benteke then the threat should be neutralised, as Smalling has been epic at the back.
But, if Benteke is allowed to play off of the much smaller Daley Blind, United might have problems.
Both teams have struggled going forward, both teams are coming off of poor defeats, both team’s defences have performed well and, both teams might be missing key players; Wayne Rooney and Philippe Coutinho.
History says that Manchester United win this fixtures far more often than not and the United squad looks stronger than Liverpool’s.
I think that Manchester United will win 2-1, if Rooney plays, if not, and someone like Fellaini starts upfront, then United’s scoring problems may continue further, and will possibly cost them the game.