Liverpool face Manchester United in the Premier League showdown this afternoon. The Anfield club currently sit three points behind the Red Devils, and one point behind Leicester City, though they have played a game less than the Foxes.
Needless to say, today’s match is must win for both sides.
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Victory would put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team four points ahead of Leicester and six above Liverpool. Meanwhile, a resurgent Manchester City are only four points off the top with a game in hand (two after today) so a win takes on even more importance if United are to push for the title. For Liverpool, defeat would leave them in a perilous position – fourth in League table (unless Spurs capitulate in the second half against Sheffield United) and likely to be overtaken by Man City.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has assessed Joel Matip in training yesterday and we will soon found out whether or not he has decided to start him against Manchester United. The centre-back has missed three matches with a groin problem but is back with the squad. If he is not ready, Klopp will have to choose between youngster Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips.
Liverpool’s only other concern will be Naby Keita, as the midfielder remains sidelined with a muscle problem which has kept him out since 19 December.
In terms of Manchester United’s preparation, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given players the chance to prove their fitness before the trip to Anfield. Anthony Martial picked up a minor hamstring injury during Tuesday’s 1-0 win against Burnley, and was among those that were given yesterday’s training session to get themselves match ready.
Solskjaer also confirmed, to Sky Sports, that the only definite injury absentees will be defenders Brandon Williams and Phil Jones.
Liverpool have won their last two home Premier League games against Manchester United, yet haven’t won three of these derbies in a row since March 2011. In addition to that stat, Manchester United are winless in their last four Premier League games against Liverpool, having drawn two and lost two.
Nevertheless, this is a very different circumstance and previous records could be thrown out the window. Indeed, Liverpool are winless in three Premier League games and have failed to score in their last two. The Reds haven’t failed to score in three consecutive league games since March 2005 and it would be astonishing if they matched that stat today, given the firepower at their disposal.
Either way it looks set to be an intriguing contest, which could well determine the destination of the title. With the Premier League so tightly packed this season, numerous clubs will have an eye on the outcome of this contest.
Kick off is just over an hour away (4.30pm).