Even if England’s most decorated clubs are now far away from the Premier League summit, the clash at Anfield should be just as intense as some of their previous meetings, especially as both Liverpool and Manchester United desperately need a good result to get their league campaign back on track.
One of world’s most colourful managers has faced numerous challenges since taking over the reigns at Anfield and, from this perspective, even a top 4 finish in the Premier League could prove difficult to achieve. Numerous injuries to star players definitely made the job more difficult for Jurgen Klopp, as the lack of options meant that the German coach couldn’t rotate as much as he would have liked during the busy festive schedule. As a result, his key players are now running on empty, and with another four games taking place in next ten days, the Reds will have to make quite an effort if they want to avoid disappointing slip-ups. Liverpool were far from impressive in midweek’s draw against Arsenal, but they did show character to score a very late equalizer and no doubt that Joe Allen’s goal will provide a much needed boost ahead of the visit of bitter rivals Manchester United. It is important to note that the Reds are unbeaten in last five home matches, and have only suffered one defeat in last 13, with each of the six games they won at Anfield achieved by a single-goal margin.
The injury nightmare continues for Jurgen Klopp, with Dejan Lovren the only players on the sidelines nearing a return, but the Man Utd game comes too soon for him.
On the other hand, Daniel Sturridge, Martin Skrtel, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi and Jordan Rossiter remain in the infirmary.
Manchester United’s season has been going from bad to worse for quite some time, and even though their four-match unbeaten run would suggest otherwise, the Red Devils have been utterly disappointing of late. And while the back line haven’t done too bad, Louis van Gaal’s side have experienced all sorts of problems going forward, scoring just three goals in four games before finally showing improvement in the 3-3 draw with Newcastle. The Dutch manager must have been disappointed to see his side concede so late in the game after they had squandered a two-goal lead, but there were some positives to be taken from the game as well. Man Utd captain Wayne Rooney netted a brace to make it four goals in last three matches, hinting he could be returning to top form and no doubts that the Red Devils will need their star player at his best when they square off against Liverpool at Anfield. The visitors will require few more strong performances if they are to avoid returning from Meryseyside empty-handed, with Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial the men to watch.
Louis van Gaal has some problems in midfield as Bastain Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick are both sidelined through injury, meaning Marouane Fellaini keeps his place.
Phil Jones is closing in on his return from an ankle injury, but Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Nick Powell are definitely out.
Key Factors to Consider
- None of last 11 meetings between Liverpool and Man Utd ended in draw
- Man Utd won eight of last ten games vs the Reds (L2)
- There were at least three goals scored in each of last five meetings
- Five of Liverpool’s last ten home games ended in draw
- Man Utd are winless in last five away matches (D2 L3)
Even if Manchester United have enjoyed a great deal of success in past meetings with Liverpool, the two sides appear to be evenly matched at the moment and this is why we believe the fixture will see its first stalemate since October 2011.
Best Odds: 9/4