Liverpool vs Man United Preview - Potential Key Battles

Liverpool vs Man United Preview - Potential Key Battles

Liverpool face Manchester United at Old Trafford. To be honest, no other context should be needed to demonstrate the sheer weight of this fixture, as it’s probably the biggest fixture in the history of English football and remains arguably the biggest fixture on the calendar.

But in case more emphasis was needed on this game, Liverpool currently sit second place in the Premier League, behind Man City on goal difference with a game in hand – this game at Old Trafford. Win or even draw, and the Reds remain in the box-seat. But defeat sees City take the lead at the top of the table. The stakes couldn’t be higher for Liverpool. So what are some of the potential key battles in this game?

Fabinho vs Paul Pogba 

Pogba is a player reborn under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Make what you want of his attitude or his battles with Mourinho, but this is a player in hot form, and absolutely critical to the way Man United play. Liverpool will take heart from Pogba’s performances, or lack of, against higher quality opposition over the years, most recently against PSG where he picked up a red card after a dismal match of being kept out of the game by Marquinhos.

The man Liverpool will surely designate to keeping Pogba from influencing this game will be Fabinho, who has developed into an absolutely crucial player for the Reds, and is perfectly suited to the task at hand. Silencing Pogba will be the key to beating United, so if Fabinho has a stormer, the Reds will win in my opinion.

Joël Matip vs Marcus Rashford

It’s not clear whether Marcus Rashford will line up off the left for Man United, with Antony Martial expected to miss the game, or whether he will stay up front, but either way, you would expect him to work the channel between Trent and Matip, and with the way Liverpool attack, you would also be surprised if Rashford wasn’t able to isolate Matip on a few occasions.

Matip is possibly the anomaly in what is otherwise an incredibly fast Liverpool defence, but his one-on-one defence has been absolutely critical at times over the last month or so, as he’s tried to play his way into some good form. Nevertheless, you sense that Rashford could cause him real problems, and how Matip is able to cope with the pace and skill of the talented young English forward will go a long to deciding whether Liverpool are able to keep a clean sheet.

Sadio Mané vs Ashley Young

If there’s a weakness to this United side, it’s in defence, and Sadio Mané is in a hot run in the Premier League – having scored four in his last four league games. Ashley Young is not a Premier League right-back, and has consistently struggled this season, despite successfully fouling Mo Salah out of this fixture last season. With Salah struggling in big games this year, Sadio has consistently been asked to step up, and it was this battle that led to Liverpool’s opening goal at Anfield in their 3-1 win in December. If Mané can exploit this United weakness, then Liverpool could have a lot of attacking joy.

Comments

4 responses to “Liverpool vs Man United Preview – Potential Key Battles”

  1. Michael Sartorius says:

    Liverpool have to shoot in the corners to beat De Gea. De Gea also has an automatic stance when faced one on one, its like a cardboard cut out. Any sportsman when under pressure goes into automatic mode and does what comes naturally. Liverpool should shoot the ball under him or two feet high and wide of him. They should be able to picture De Gea frame without looking.

  2. mike says:

    We do not have an out and out striker. Needs to play Fabinho and Van Dyke at back, cannot play Matip as he gets bullied and you can’t try and flick a ball like that against Bayern or any good team, very bad technique. These are professional players who train every day and still can’t clear a ball with their weaker foot. Lovren knows he now gets picked out against good sides and he will look to avoid big games now, emotionally he is not there, he is not sharp enough and is caught flat footed, but he will put his body in the way, not good enough against these teams though. Needs to have 2 as defensive midfielders and then swap between Milner, Henderson and Wynaldum. The way Klopp likes to play you need to use subs, a bit like the England rugby union team, they cannot keep up the pressure with the same 15 men on pitch. On Sunday need to play 4 across the front so can defend together and attack together as well as swapping interplay. Salah needs to do different things as defenders have made their move against him based on his performances last season, now it is his move and he needs to adapt, like a game of chess. I’m surprised this has not been dealt with already in training. Sturridge should have been sold at least 2 years ago, I have never seen him do a warm up exercise properly. Origi is still learning but has a great mentality. Man city can put teams to bed, Liverpool cannot, we have to learn to put teams away when opposing teams are on the ropes, because we get counter attacked by good teams so many times, with having no pace in midfield. We have to have purpose in front of goal against United, we can get through on goal easy enough but lack the guile to know were to shoot against De Gea such as low in the corner or a couple of feet high and wide of him.

  3. mike says:

    Liverpool are where they should be, matching Man city, even beating them in certain areas, but we don’t have the squad depth to march on past them. It is virtually impossible to keep the first eleven fit, If Trent and Gomez kept fit, I think we would be seven points clear. Klopp needs to sell about five fringe players and buy three quality players. This would allow for injuries and to take players out when they dip in form or need a rest, players with the attitude of togetherness whether playing or not and realising everyone plays a part, this is the attitude modern players need to have. You can still put young players on the bench to get experience and get ten or fifteen minutes when possible. Keita will need time to settle, I hear he does not speak English and is quiet so players like this take time, but he has great quality and will be world class. Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain will need time when he comes back so you are looking at next season really. Henderson is a good captain and Milner a superb professional, but we lack pace in midfield, if the Liverpool attack breaks down good teams just run through our midfield, we cannot get back. The defence is just left open. Lovren will put his body on the line but he is not sharp enough and gets flat-footed too often, this causes goals and good teams will exploit this. Matip plays very laid back and casual, he cannot dominate and bully opposing players. This gives away lots of chances and against good sides we will get punished a lot. I would have sold Sturridge at least two seasons ago, when I have watched the Liverpool team warming up, never once have I seen Sturridge do an exercise properly, no wonder he suffers from injuries. His muscles must be so used to doing the exercises incorrectly, they have probably adapted now and are set, he also does not seem to want to come out of his comfort zone and mature as a player. When a player stops wanting to learn or improve, time to let that player move on. Klopp let Clyne go for Clyne’s sake and not Liverpool’s. Clyne knew that once Trent was back, Clyne would be on the bench again. Klopp just being the gent he his. Fabinho has played full back for Brazil, so I don’t know why he did not fill in. He lacks a bit of pace so I think playing in defence could be a good option for him and allow him to play out from the back, to give us another option of setting up play, he also has good timing when it comes to tackling, he could develop into a world class defender, like a Hanson. I don’t think we will win the league because when we are put under pressure a lot of heads start looking down at the floor or to others for guidance rather than the confidence to look at each other and all look to take the game by the scruff of the neck. We can be three goals up and still draw a game. If we go two goals down, we look as though we are beat. The trainers at Liverpool should have advised Salah that this season would be harder for him and defenders will have an answer to him, the emphasis will be for him to come back with an answer, such as going more on his right side to prove he can attack on both sides, this should be worked on to keep defenders guessing, Salah would then get more confident. Mane is still playing within his comfort zone, he is capable of far more, but his last injury has taken some of his confidence away. Firmino is a manager’s dream. Virgil is becoming a master and Andy is living a dream. Gini is playing well and looking confident. What a player James Milner is, I was wrong about him and glad to be wrong.
    Good guy Graeme Taylor once said Liverpool people know their football, Be proud whatever Merseyside and back the team when they need it the most, when struggling.

  4. Red Panther says:

    Why are fans always defending Mr. Klopp’s mistakes as if he never makes them. Team depth???? We had chances to reinforce our depth with quality squad layers and with a great player in Nabil Fekir but we didn’t. Fans excuse he has a dodgy nknee ??? News flash he has played a World Cup and since which played a pivotal role in Lyon’s league and Champions league games. Another news flash there is no telling if the Ox will be the Ox “with his now suspect knee” of old.
    Next thing he yes he alone got Joe Gomez his preferred center back pairing injured by putting him out on the right instead of playing someone else there. He also let Clyne go out on loan after a spectacular performance against whom else but man u. Sighting he wanted to go. Oh and TTA whom is a good player is left with the idea ok I’m the first choice with no one behind me so there’s no pressure or presence challenging him and his play has now dipped considerably! Same on the left get some competition in for their positions not cover for them !!! That’s the difference between us and city and or united and us winning not just challenging. $&#%@! that “If I fail I fail “ shite and yes that’s a direct quote from MR. KLOPP. We are Liverpool and our head on our snake should never talk like that let alone think it!!! So much more I can say but I’m going to go back to the great about us and that is WE ARE LIVERPOOL!!!! Let’s get this done. I love LFC and as long as I live and breathe YNWA!!!

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Published by Anfield Index
Updated: 2019-02-22 09:16:43
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