A clash of the titans in a massive derby at Anfield on Monday night will see Liverpool take on Manchester United. Last season, Louis Van Gaal’s side did a league double over the Merseyside club but fell to defeat against their rivals in the Europa League knock out stage, and Jurgen Klopp will look to continue to be victorious up against Jose Mourinho after a run of four successive league defeats in the fixture. There has been controversy over the appointment of Andrew Taylor as referee, given he lives just six miles from Old Trafford, but the fixture will be one to attract attention from across the world.
Liverpool have scored nine goals and conceded two in their only two home games of the season so far and have been one of the league’s most impressive sides in the opening two months of the campaign. Their last fixture was a victory over Swansea though it required a comeback after a first half which raised a number of questions over whether or not the Reds can sustain their good form as they attempt to launch a title challenge.
United have won just one of their last four games, having fallen to defeat in their last away game at Vicarage Road against Watford. Victory over Leicester City had eased concerns about poor form, but a late Joe Allen equaliser meant that they were forced to share the points with Stoke City in their last outing after labouring past Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League. United have struggled against bigger sides this season, with their only real challenge to date being their defeat to their city rivals, so this game will be a real test for the Red Devils.
Liverpool predicted starting XI Manchester United predicted starting XI
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Injuries are likely to play a huge part in Jurgen Klopp’s team selection, with Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can likely to benefit from the absences of Georgino Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana. Phillipe Coutinho is likely to be forced into a deeper midfield role to take up Lallana’s role, with Daniel Sturridge replacing him up front, whilst Emre Can will take the deep lying midfielder role with Jordan Henderson moving forwards.
For United, Anthony Martial’s impact substitution appearance against Stoke is likely to see him selected ahead of Jesse Lingard, with Luke Shaw also expected to return from injury and replace Danny Blind at left back in an otherwise unchanged line-up for Jose Mourinho and his team.
Injuries and Suspensions
Liverpool have been plagued by injuries, with Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana all forced out of their international squads with injuries, whilst Georgino Wijnaldum limped out of action for the Netherlands on Monday night with a hamstring injury. Clyne and Lovren are expected to return, but Lallana is a doubt and the extent of Wijnaldum’s injury is unclear at present, but he too is unlikely to return. Joe Gomez is the only other player unavailable for Klopp and is expected back towards the end of the month.
For the Red Devils, Luke Shaw is expected to return from injury to be available for Jose Mourinho, alongside midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who himself was forced to miss international duty for Armenia. Antonio Valencia is likely to benefit from the Monday night kick-off with his return from international duty not until Thursday. The only long term injury for Mourinho to contend with is that of Phil Jones, whose knee injury is expected to keep him out for a few more weeks.
Much of this tie will depend upon how Liverpool adapt if they are forced to make major changes in midfield. United’s inexperienced defence may struggle with Liverpool’s in form attacking play, but at the other end Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be hoping to dominate Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, with the Reds yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this campaign. It’ll be tight, but given United have failed to turn up for the big occasions this season, we’re going for a narrow Liverpool victory.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Steve Mcmetha.