Liverpool welcome league leaders Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday afternoon in the biggest Premier League game of the season so far.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men moved three points clear at the top with a midweek win over Burnley, while Liverpool had the week off following their FA Cup third round win over Aston Villa schoolboys.
The winner of this game lays claim to top spot, with the Merseyside club taking it on goal difference or United moving six points clear, so let’s preview this crucial clash.
When is kick off? Sunday 17 January
What time is kick off? 16:30 (GMT)
Where is it played? Anfield
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports (UK), fuboTV (US)
Referee? Paul Tierney
Jurgen Klopp has seen his injury concerns eased in recent weeks with Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri returning to action, but they are still light in defence. Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are still unavailable, while Joel Matip is a huge doubt with an adductor problem. Diogo Jota is also out with a hamstring injury.
Manchester United suffered a triple injury headache following their win over Burnley with Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof picking up hamstring, groin and back problems respectively. Martial’s woes have since been declared not as bad as first thought, though, and he is expected to be available.
Amad Diallo has started training with his new club this week, but it’s unlikely he will be involved in this tie. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are both yet to feature this season and remain on the sidelines, while Facundo Pellestri is still recovering from a positive COVID-19 test.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Rashford, Martial.
The champions have struggled in the league in recent weeks, without a win in their last three games. They got back to winning ways against Aston Villa’s academy side in the FA Cup, playing a strong team in the process. Klopp’s side are undefeated at Anfield since 2017 though, with a stunning 46 games in their streak.
To combat that streak though, Ole’s side have won 11 of their last 12 away games in the Premier League and have won their last three in a row in the league. There was the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City sandwiched in the middle of those wins, but their performance was nothing to be ashamed of on the night.
Aston Villa 1-4 Liverpool (8/1)
Southampton 1-0 Liverpool (4/1)
Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool (30/12)
Liverpool 1-1 West Brom (27/12)
Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool (19/12)
Burnley 0-1 Man Utd (12/1)
Man Utd 1-0 Watford (9/1)
Man Utd 0-2 Man City (6/1)
Man Utd 2-1 Aston Villa (1/1)
Man Utd 1-0 Wolves (29/12)
It’s a game between two teams at opposite ends of the form table and yet it is still a monstrous clash.
Liverpool always seem to turn up for the big occasions and after losing their place at the summit of the division, they’ll be hungry to show they’re still the best team in the country. United will want to prove they’re position isn’t false though and will come looking to cause an upset.
The pace that United have in attack – matched with the good form of their midfielder – makes them a genuine threat to Klopp’s Anfield record, but Solskjaer is yet to win against Liverpool during his reign as Man Utd manager.
It will be a fiercely contested game that could go either way, with any difference likely to be decided by a moment of magic…or perhaps a penalty.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United