Man Utd vs Liverpool: Preview | Confirmed Team News | Expected Line-ups | Prediction
Manchester United will invite Liverpool to Old Trafford this afternoon as the two go head-to-head in their next Premier League game.
Liverpool are currently in sixth place in the Premier League table, 13 points behind United who sit in second. With a win, Liverpool could move into fifth place so the outcome of this game is extremely significant for the away side.
United are sitting in a comfortable second place position, four points ahead of third place Leicester City but still 13 points behind leaders Man City. With a win, United could delay City’s chances of securing the title, whilst also cementing second place for themselves. However, defeat for United would hand City the title so they’ll be desperate to prevent that for another week.
Taking away the matter of points, United and Liverpool have always had a fierce rivalry. Nevertheless, fans from both clubs are looking to unite this Sunday with a protest against the club owners which is due to take place outside of Old Trafford just hours before kick off.
There is a fear of possible delays or even a postponement of the game if protestors prevent the team buses from entering the stadium. All remains to be seen, however this is something to keep an eye on in the lead up to the game.
Following their game against Roma on Thursday evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told club media that there were no fresh injuries following the semi-final and therefore everyone should be available for selection. He did however suggest that he would have to wait and see whether there were any long-term effects on any of the players bodies.
Solskjaer therefore suggested the team would be picked based on which players felt most fresh, saying “I don’t think you can take anything for granted in any game. We have to wait until Sunday morning to see how the players are”.
“Thursday night was an intense game and we need to see who is really fresh and fit to play against Liverpool because you definitely don’t take anything for granted in the knock-out phase, even when you’re four goals up in a semi-final”.
“We will pick a strong team for that one [the second leg of the Europa League semi-final] and on Sunday morning we’ll have to decide on the Liverpool team because it was a hard game.”
Therefore, the only two expected absentees should be Anthony Martial and Phil Jones.
For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp confirmed there was no fresh injuries or return of any of the players with long-term injuries, telling reporters on Friday, “No, no. All the same in this moment.”
This therefore means Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson. Furthermore, Nathaniel Phillips may also be unavailable after having to sit out the Newcastle United and Leeds United game with a hamstring injury.
Man United (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood.
Dean Henderson will return to his position between the posts in the place of David de Gea.
At the back, there may possibly be two changes made with Eric Bailly coming in for Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles coming in for Luke Shaw. As Solskjaer suggested he will be picking a strong team for the semi-final tie next Thursday, there is a possibility Shaw and Lindelof will be rested on Sunday.
It is not expected there will be any change in the middle of the field, with Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes all expected to start. Nemanja Matic is another option, alongside Donny van de Beek who could get a rare run out, most likely from the bench.
Paul Pogba may be given a rest on Sunday, however with his recent impressive performances it is difficult to keep him out of the starting line-up. This would mean Marcus Rashford would continue playing on the right-wing. Daniel James is another option for Solskjaer as he was rested on Thursday therefore he will be re-energised, providing United with pace going forward and in getting back to defend.
Up front, Mason Greenwood may be chosen to lead the line with Edinson Cavani having played the full 90 minutes on Thursday and most certainly being Solskjaer’s first choice for the second-leg of the semi-final.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Milner; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Liverpool have had a full week’s rest since their Premier League game last weekend, having been knocked out of the Champions League.
The back four is unlikely to change from their previous game, with Liverpool’s injury problems resulting in a lack of other options.
The only change to the squad may see James Milner come in for Diego Jota in order to give Liverpool more security in midfield, rather than focusing on having an attacking threat. This would change their formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3.
The front three is likely to be unchanged from recent games with Mo Salah on the right, Sadio Mane on the left and Roberto Firmino playing through the middle.
With Liverpool desperately needing a win to keep any hopes of being in the Champions League next season alive, they are likely to play an attacking style of football at Old Trafford. However, this may end up suiting United who enjoy hitting teams on the counter-attack, utilising their pace and clinical finishing. Therefore, the score prediction is:
Man United 2 – 1 Liverpool
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