MANCHESTER UNITED VS LIVERPOOL PREVIEW: 3 POINTS OR NOTHING
The biggest fixture of the season for Liverpool FC since the start of the 2015/16 season is scheduled for tomorrow, when the Reds face their arch-rivals Manchester United away at Old Trafford. After four games in the league, both the teams have accumulated 7 points and a win will be targeted by the managers of both sides. Of course, Manchester United will have the home advantage, but judging by the quality of the squads and recent performances of both the teams, the game can be expected to be highly competitive.
The shock 0-3 home defeat against West Ham United in the last game exposed Liverpool’s vulnerabilities in the defense. Despite not conceding a single goal in the first three games, Liverpool’s overall goal difference figures have suddenly turned negative after last game. Yet, Manchester United too faced a 2-1 defeat away at the hands of Swansea in their last game proving that a well co-ordinated attack can indeed threaten their defense.
Play for pride and points
The passions are always high among fans and players alike when the Reds play against the Red Devils. Players and managers don’t hesitate taking big risks in the fixture and fans can expect plenty of twists and turns. Thus, Liverpool’s players will need to be at their best to take something out of Old Trafford. Since 2005, the teams have shared points in the fixture on only two occasions. Thus, aiming for victory should indeed be the strategy that Brendan Rodgers should implement in the game.
Dealing with Coutinho’s absence
Philippe Coutiho can definitely be considered Liverpool’s top player in the current season. However, the player’s unfortunate sending-off against West Ham will mean that the Brazilian midfielder won’t be playing in tomorrow’s fixture. Yet, the return of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Christian Benteke from injury will mean that the Reds will indeed have a capable attacking lineup. Judging by Danny Ings’ performance in the last fixture, it can be argued that the striker does indeed deserve his first PL start on Saturday since joining the club.
Strengthen the defense
While Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren performed excellently in the first three PL fixtures, their mistakes cost the team heavily in the last game. West Ham did manage to exploit some basic defensive errors by the duo on their way to victory. Thus, considering the occasion, Rodgers should perhaps opt for at least one change in the defense. Mamadou Sakho or Kolo Toure should indeed be chosen to start.
Victory isn’t impossible
Manchester United do have the upper hand considering the results in the last 10 head-to-head fixtures with 6 victories, while Liverpool have won 3. The recent statistics do indicate that the odds for a draw are low for tomorrow’s game, with the fixture averaging almost 3 goals per game in the last 5 years. Hence, the team that scores the first two goals could be the winner tomorrow. Rodgers thus may need to make an attack-oriented team selection.