Man Utd host Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday in a crunch clash for both sides given their battle for second place in the Premier League.
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United hold a two-point advantage going into the encounter, with their thrilling win over Crystal Palace earlier this week moving them back ahead of their rivals.
That win extended their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions, but Liverpool are also in fine form as they’ve gone seven outings without tasting defeat, winning six of those and scoring 18 goals in the process.
In turn, both will be confident of securing the result that they need, but much will also likely depend on who wins the tactical battle as Jose Mourinho could emphasise keeping things tight at the back, as he has done in the big games against direct rivals this season.
Who can blame him though when he has to deal with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who have been in stunning form this season with the Egyptian international catching the eye in particular with 32 goals and 11 assists in 39 appearances since his summer move from Roma.
The head-to-head would suggest that this is going to be a tight game, as the two sides have played out four consecutive draws in their last four meetings, with a total of four goals scored in that time.
Liverpool’s last win came in a Europa League tie in March 2016, while prior to that United had rattled off five consecutive wins against their bitter rivals in all competitions. What they wouldn’t give for a return to that trend this weekend.
Man Utd: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez.
Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Can; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Given the trend set in recent meetings between the two sides, as noted above, coupled with what’s at stake here in terms of their positioning in the table, expect a cagey opening to the game and for Mourinho to defy critics of his defensive approach and keep things tight at the back.
It could be a frustrating day for Liverpool as Man Utd try to shut them out, while Sanchez has yet to deliver for the Red Devils since his January move from Arsenal. This could be the perfect stage to prove why they showed faith in him as an expectant Old Trafford crowd will be desperate to see their side prevail.
Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool.