Liverpool and Manchester United lock horns for the first time this season at Anfield tomorrow, with Jurgen Klopp’s side desperate to knock the Red Devils off the top of the Premier League table.
Manchester United leapfrogged Liverpool by beating Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday, and lead the standings in January for the first time since 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in the dugout and Robin van Persie was inspiring the 20th league title win in the club’s history.
Liverpool are aiming to equal that tally this season, so tomorrow’s game has all the ingredients of a blockbuster, and there’s already a sequel in the pipeline, with the teams scheduled to clash again at Old Trafford the following weekend in the FA Cup fourth round
Last January, United lost at home to Burnley and trailed Liverpool by 30 points in the league table, having played two matches more. This January, their victory over the Clarets has taken them three points clear of Liverpool at the top. Jurgen Klopp’s men have lost only twice in the top flight in 2020-21, and have not lost at home in the league since April 2017. United have taken 22 points from eight away league games this term, and have drawn three and lost one of their last four at Anfield.
Manchester United fans would be in disbelief at present, as they could never have expected to be three points ahead at the top of the Premier League table after 17 games this season. It is still unknown whether United are genuine title contenders, but we will find out more this weekend after this game at Anfield. There are certainly reasons to be optimistic from a United perspective, as the Red Devils are unbeaten in eleven league games and they have already won seven games on the road so far this season. This will certainly be their toughest assignment on the road this season, but United would have taken confidence from their recent gritty win on the road against Burnley. Paul Pogba put in a match-winning performance in that game at Turf Moor, and his strike with 20 minutes remaining was ultimately the only goal of the game. Defensively United were sound in that game, and there is a real relationship between Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire forming. Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan Bissaka will expect busy afternoons at Anfield, as they come up against Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
The defending champions are being made to work much harder than they were last season, and it looks incredibly unlikely that they will win the league with such a wide margin again this season. The Reds have struggled in recent games, as they have failed to win against opponents that they would have expected to claim dominant victories against. West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United have both claimed points against Liverpool, while Jurgen Klopp’s side fell to defeat in their last league game, as they were below par in a 1-0 loss against Southampton.
This Liverpool side have made a habit out of producing performances when questions have been asked of them, and that means it will be incredibly difficult to rule out seeing them win convincingly this weekend. Liverpool’s home record is also something that shouldn’t be forgotten about, as the Reds haven’t been beaten in the league at Anfield since April 2017.
Meanwhile, former Liverpool star Jason McAteer admits while that Manchester United may be “vulnerable”, particularly at the back; Liverpool are “in a fragile state and not the greatest form” heading into a crunch clash at Anfield.
Even if Manchester United were to go to Anfield on Sunday (tomorrow) and beat Liverpool, the Premier League title isn’t won in January so I’m sure there won’t be too much panic around Liverpool.
“Liverpool are in a fragile state and not in the greatest form. This is due to physical and mental tiredness as the squad is stretched with so many injuries.
“The one thing that worries me about Manchester United is even though they don’t have the best team or that great of a squad, defensively they are so vulnerable – they have the worst defensive record out of the top 11 teams, conceding 24 goals – they’re grinding out results, similarly to the Burnley victory on Tuesday night which bodes well for them.
At this current moment in time, Manchester United are doing okay. You can’t deny where they currently are and you have to give them some credit for currently sitting on top of the Premier League, which makes this weekend’s match all the more exciting.
“Liverpool have the best home record and so far United haven’t lost away from home, so it could be a classic, which is something we’ve not had for a long time.”