After the drama that was the midweek win vs Atalanta in the Champions League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad now have a quick turn around to face fierce rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford, who will be Man Utd’s toughest test of the season so far.
Man Utd vs Liverpool is one of football’s biggest and oldest rivalries, dating back to 1894 when Man Utd were called Newton Heath and since then 234 games have been played between the two sides.
As of late the fixture between the sides have been very even, the last twelve games between the sides have seen two wins for Man Utd, three wins for Liverpool and seven draws.
Liverpool have seemingly returned to form that won them the Champions League and Premier League, they are currently sitting second in the table, the only team left in the Premier League yet to lose and are currently top scorers in the league with main man Mo Salah leading the way for them.
Mo Salah is arguably the best player in the world right now, scoring seven goals and providing four assists in the eight league games he has played so far, meaning Luke Shaw will have to be at his best stop the threat of Mo Salah this game, which will probably mean he will have to be limited in joining attacks to try and cover for Mo Salah’s threat.
Solskjaer: “You see some of the goals he’s [Salah] scored lately, we know we have to be at our best to defend against him. Players like this don’t come along very often.”
Man Utd have been struggling defensively for quite a while now, keeping one clean sheet in their last twenty games and conceding six goals in the past two games and with Liverpool scoring eight goals in their past two games, it will be a massive test for Man Utd’s leaky defence which will still be without summer signing Raphael Varane with him still out injured.
Man Utd might be without another couple of players for this upcoming game, with Solskjaer confirming that a few players picked up knocks against Atalanta; “We do have two or three carrying knocks. I’ll give everyone time and I hope I can pick from a fully fit squad it might be that I’m without two or three and yes, Bruno might be one of them that might be a doubt.”
If Bruno is not fit enough to start the game, Solskjaer will have to choose what kind of player he wants to replace him, he could pick Jesse Lingard, whose pressing and energy could be valuable to the defensive side of United’s game, Paul Pogba whose attacking ability could closely match what Bruno produces, or he could give Van de Beek a chance on the biggest stage to prove to him that he is a viable member of the squad and he has the quality to play more regularly.
Marcus Rashford showed again against Atalanta why he is so key to this Man Utd team, his runs in behind the defence created numerous chances for himself, which led to him scoring United’s first goal and with Liverpool playing a very high line, Rashford has shown in the past how valuable he can be to exposing teams who play a high line against him.