Man Utd vs Liverpool preview | Latest team news | Expected line-up’s | Prediction
Manchester United host Liverpool at Old Trafford this afternoon as both teams go head-to-head, fighting for a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. This game comes exactly one week after the underwhelming 0-0 draw at Anfield.
United are hosting Liverpool fresh from their 1-2 victory over Fulham in midweek. The lack of injuries within the first team throughout this season has given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the opportunity to continually rotate his squad and this pattern looks set to continue against Liverpool. In his pre-match press conference on Friday Solskjaer confirmed, “we will rotate, that’s for sure”, however he said he would still pick a team he knows can win the game.
Victor Lindelöf was unavailable for United against Fulham on Wednesday, however Solskjaer stated in the press-conference that, “he [Victor] had treatment this morning, [and] light training, so [he] should be ready for the weekend”. Phil Jones and Brandon Williams are the only two United players with injury concerns.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench in the 85th minute against Fulham mid-week, therefore it is highly likely he will start today. Scott McTominay was another player rested for the majority of the game against Fulham, only getting a 5-minute run-out, giving the impression he too will be given a place in the starting line-up.
Liverpool, unlike United, have been battling with multiple injuries within the squad. Alongside long-term absentees, Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota and Naby Keita also continue to be out of the picture for selection.
Jordan Henderson was the latest casualty, missing out on Liverpool’s 0-1 defeat against Burnley on Thursday evening after picking up a muscle injury. To many Liverpool supporters, this may have felt like another blow to any chances of improvement in form. Jurgen Klopp has since delivered promising news in his press-conference stating it [the injury] is not serious. Even so, it remains doubtful as to whether he will be involved in today’s game.
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both came off the bench 15 minutes into the second half of Liverpool’s Thursday night battle against Burnley. This, most likely reflecting the possibility they were being rested for the upcoming encounter with United.
The player to watch
One of the main players to watch is Man Utd midfielder currently in excellent form, Paul Pogba. He was presented with arguably the best opportunity to steal the game for United against Liverpool last Sunday, prevented only by an important Alisson save. Although, he was able to redeem himself when he scored the match-winning goal for United against Fulham on Wednesday evening. Pogba’s recent form and consistent performance for United has been reflected in Solskjaer’s decision to include him in the starting line-up for the past 5 Premier League games. Whether Paul Pogba will be given a chance to rest in this fixture is unknown. Nevertheless, with the level of influence he has had in the team recently, it would not be a surprise if he was chosen yet again in the starting XI.
Predicted United XI (4-2-3-1): Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Telles, McTominay, Fred, Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba, Martial.
Dean Henderson has been Solskjaer’s go-to-man for previous FA Cup fixtures, therefore, it is likely he will continue with this selection. However, Luke Shaw may be given a rest after starting consecutive games, meaning Alex Telles will get a run-out.
There is also the possibility Solskjaer will return to starting his duo of trusted defensive midfielders Fred and McTominay who are often in rotation with Matic and Pogba.
Edinson Cavani started the game against Fulham mid-week; therefore, he may be rested, giving Martial the chance to return to his centre-forward position alongside Rashford and Pogba on the wings.
Predicted Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson, Milner, Thiago, Jones, Salah, Minamino, Firmino.
Caoimhin Kelleher has been Klopp’s chosen goalie for Liverpool’s previous FA cup encounters, therefore there is no reason as to why he should not be selected again today.
Sadio Mané may begin on the bench after having started the previous game against Burnley, giving Takumi Minamino the chance to start in his place.
Nat Phillips will most likely partner with Fabinho in the centre of defence as Klopp will be unwilling to risk starting Joel Matip, a player who has only just returned from injury. It is unlikely we will see Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andrew Robertson rested due to the lack of alternative options for Klopp.
Taking into account United’s current winning streak and Liverpool’s slight dip in form, the predicted result is a 1-0 win for the home side.
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