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HomeSportsFootballJust a few weeks until Manchester United vs Liverpool: Match Preview

Just a few weeks until Manchester United vs Liverpool: Match Preview

Just a few weeks after an exhilarating cup tie, the two familiar rivals will meet once again in the league for the latest edition of their rivalry, as Liverpool travel to Manchester to face Manchester United on Sunday.

Man United were on top of the world after their 4-3 victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final in March. However, they have failed to maintain the same form after the international break, with a draw and a loss in the league since then. They were on the verge of a chaotic 4-3 loss against Chelsea in the midweek fixtures, drawing more criticism and questions over the manager’s job.

Also read: Tottenham’s Transfer Strategy For Summer Striking Revamp.

For the neutral, it was an exciting, value-for-money game, evoking memories of the classic Premier League games of the past. However, for United fans, it was another nail in the coffin, with a dream of a Champions League position for next season seeming farther away than before. United conceded two goals in two minutes of stoppage time to go from leading 3-2 to losing 4-3, and it would suffice to say that players and fans alike were left shocked.

Earlier, the Red Devils rallied brilliantly to come from two goals down and level the scores heading into halftime. They then completed the comeback just past the hour mark. However, a controversial penalty in stoppage time allowed the hosts to level the scores before a deflected strike helped them snatch all three points deep into added time.

It was another heartbreaking stoppage time goal conceded by United, after the same happened at Brentford last weekend. It seemed United had won it with a late goal, but the Bees found a way to equalize, and United have picked up only one point in their last two league games, as they now sit 11 points behind Aston Villa in fourth with eight games left to play. Games against rivals are always a must-win for any team, but it is more so now for both teams.

Liverpool were last in action against Sheffield United at home as they continued their unbeaten run in the Premier League, winning 3-1 against the Blades. It was a comfortable victory in the end for the Merseyside Reds, as they dominated the visitors in every aspect. Darwin Nunez opened the scoring for Liverpool inside 20 minutes, but they were pegged back in the second half as Connor Bradley’s own goal leveled the scores. The home side briefly lost control of the game before Alexis MacAllister unleashed a thundering strike past the 70th minute to take the lead again, after which Liverpool dictated the tempo till the full-time whistle. Cody Gakpo and Andy Robertson came off the bench to combine for the third goal, as Gakpo scored in the 89th minute to give Liverpool the three points and take them to the top of the table. Liverpool are in fine form heading into the game at Old Trafford, but they will be wary of their previous experience here.

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With three teams gunning for the league title, the top of the table has never been tighter in recent years, and any slip-up can be ill-afforded by either team. Liverpool hold a two- and three-point lead over Arsenal and Manchester City, respectively, but face a somewhat tricky run-in to the season. With European commitments for all three teams, the title race will undoubtedly come to an end, and we could be in for a three-way battle on the final day of the season.

While United are not in the best form, the vociferous Stretford End can play a catalyst in the tie, and the Merseyside Reds know that it would be foolish to underestimate their age-old rivals. In a neck-and-neck title race, Liverpool will have to approach each game as a final from now on, and their first challenge awaits in the form of United in a game that could have huge ramifications on either team’s season. Both teams are expected to go for it, and a hugely interesting fixture looms large as one of the most anticipated rivalries of all time resumes on Sunday.

WHEN & WHERE?

Date: Sunday, 9th April 2024.
Time: 4.30 pm GMT
Venue: Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, UK.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn.
Fourth official: Craig Pawson.
VAR: John Brooks.
Assistant VAR: Richard West.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United suffered yet another injury blow in their midweek fixture with center-backs Rapahel Varane and Jonny Evans both picking up knocks at Stamford Bridge.

Jonny Evans who came on as a substitute for Raphael Varane was making his first appearance in a few weeks after injury kept him out, but seemed to have picked up another issue as he was replaced by Willy Kambwala. Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial are long-term absentees with the former two set to be out till next month at least.

For Liverpool, there is some good news after Curtis Jones returned to the squad on Thursday night and will be in contention on Sunday whereas midfielder Wataru Endo is also set to return for the Reds after he missed out on the midweek game with a knock. However, Jurgen Klopp confirmed he expects the Japan international to be fit for the weekend. However, the Scousers will be without first-choice keeper Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Thiago, who are all still recovering from long-term injuries.

Also read: Arsenal Can He Be The Gunners’ New Winger?

KEY PLAYERS

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian is the top scorer and the top assist provider for his side with 22 goals and 13 assists in all competitions this season. He is always a danger to the opposition and has a good record against United, having scored 13 goals in 14 games against them. He was on the scoresheet at Old Trafford a few weeks ago and also scored in the same fixture last season, despite Liverpool losing that game. The 31-year-old forward really needs no introduction and will be raring to go against a depleted United side with an extremely weak defense.

Alejandro Garnacho

A brace in his last game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge might have gone unnoticed amidst all the chaos, but Alejandro Garnacho is having a stellar individual season so far and has shown his talent and potential to become one of the best in the world. Considering it’s just his second full season in senior football, the Argentine has shown immense maturity and class in becoming a mainstay in the United attack and has started the last 28 games for them across all competitions. He has thrown his name in the hat for a potential PFA Young Player of the Year Award and is by far the most productive teenager in the league this season. His electric pace and trickery is a headache for defenders and he will be expected to be the spark for United again against a strong Liverpool defense.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Manchester United predicted lineup vs Liverpool: Andre Onana; Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Casemiro, Kobbie Mainoo; Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Rasmus Højlund.

Liverpool predicted lineup vs Manchester United: Caoimhin Kelleher; Connor Bradley, Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahim Konate, Andrew Robertson; Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominic Szoboszlai; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luiz Diaz.

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