Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United welcome second placed Liverpool for the match of the weekend on Sunday. The Red Devils are on a run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions and will head into this clash full of confidence.
United are expected to welcome back top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he has overcome the illness that kept him out of the side for the midweek EFL Cup clash against Hull. However, there are doubts surrounding the fitness of Marcus Rojo who was taken off last week against Reading.
Meanwhile Liverpool will welcome back their star man Phillipe Coutinho who got half an hour game time under his belt midweek on his return from an ankle injury that has kept him out since November.
Skipper Jordan Henderson could also return despite missing the EFL Cup game, after a heel injury picked up on New Year’s Eve has kept him out. Centre Back Joel Matip is also back in training but is unlikely to feature for the Reds having missed Liverpool’s last seven matches.
Sadio Mane and Eric Bailly will miss the game due to the African Cup of Nations.
Liverpool fans will be hoping that the return of their key players help them re-find their form after a blip in recent weeks. A disappointing draw at Watford was followed by a stalemate at home to League Two Plymouth in the FA Cup, before a midweek loss to Southampton in their EFL Cup Semi-final.
Recent form clearly favours the home side and United have only lost once at home this season, a 2-1 reverse to Manchester City. Meanwhile Liverpool’s away form against the top sides is impressive. They have already beaten league leaders Chelsea, Arsenal and city rivals Everton away from home this season and they will be looking to add to this list of scalps as they visit Old Trafford.
Head to head form is also in favour of Mourinho’s side. Man United are unbeaten in the last five meetings in the Premier League between the two sides, winning four of them.
Liverpool currently lie 5 points clear of their hosts this weekend having scored the most goals in the league. Their goalkeeper position and shaky defence is cause for concern but on their day they can put three or four past any side in the division.
United on the other hand are much more solid. Only Tottenham and Chelsea have conceded less goals than them this season and welcoming Ibrahimovic back will give improve their attacking firepower.
Playing away from home against a side expected to attack them will suit Liverpool and the counter attacking football they like to employ. This is the style of football that help them dismantle Chelsea and Arsenal away from home. Firmino, Lallana and the returning Coutinho should all flourish on the break. However expect the visitors to be put under a lot of pressure, especially as Mourinho issued a rallying call to their supporters ahead of the clash. Whether their defence can hold out and provide a platform from which their flair players can perform will be the decisive factor of this game.
Despite Man United’s incredible form take Liverpool to get an impressive away win here. Their counter attacking football should suit this game perfectly and despite a lot of home possession and pressure, the visitors are taken to come away with three points.
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