LIVERPOOL VS. MANCHESTER UNITED
| Sunday, December 16th|
Premier League | Anfield
4PM GMT/11AM EST
There are probably other, more important things to talk about in this preview, but that part’s the most fun so it’s gonna be the lead. Liverpool have a chance to go top of the league tomorrow and are 16 points ahead of Manchester United, who are not in the top four.
Liverpool look to continue their Premier League dominance when their fierce rivals come to Anfield, a place where the Reds have been unbeaten all season. This fixture is always a battle, and despite the current results, it’s still true that Liverpool haven’t beaten Manchester United in the last eight league games they’ve played.
This season, Liverpool have only conceded six goals in their first 16 league games, and only one of those was let in at Anfield. They have the best defense in the league, and the only one who has kept their goals allowed under double digits so far this season. Aside from Chelsea in the League Cup, no Premier League team has managed to score more than one against them, and Liverpool have picked up 10 clean sheets along the way. Praise be to Alisson Becker.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have allowed 26 goals past them so far this season, an even half of which came away from home. David de Gea is no longer enough to paper over the cracks in their defense, and Liverpool will do their best to use that to their advantage.
Liverpool, while winning 13 of their 16 league matches, haven’t been particularly proficient in front of goal, with the front three not really clicking together in the same, otherworldly way that they did last season. So chances are that this will be another tense affair that comes down to only one or two goals. With any luck, those goals will be inside de Gea’s net.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Milner, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keïta; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Liverpool are in the midst of a mini-injury crisis. Luckily for them, Manchester United have it even worse on that front. For Liverpool, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will both be out for the foreseeable future, leaving only Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren available at center-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold will also likely miss Sunday’s match. Klopp has mentioned that Nathaniel Clyne is available to slot in, but most likely it’ll be James Milner on the right in his place. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains a long-term absence.
The midfield trio that Klopp goes with is anyone’s guess. Fabinho or Shaqiri may get a nod here as well.
For Manchester United, Victor Lindelöf, Alexis Sanchez, and Marcos Rojo are all out, and Mourinho has a slew of doubtful players that he’ll be hoping pass late fitness tests. Those include: Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Matteo Dormian, and Diogo Dalot.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “We have to be angry on Sunday and we will be. We fight for our points. We have our own problems and targets.”
Jose Mourinho: “We know that we are going to play against the leader, against a team on a high. But we have our qualities, we have our potential, even with the problems we have and the doubts in terms of team choice, of tactics, approach, philosophy.”
Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts Fourth official: Anthony Taylor
Kickoff is set for 4PM GMT/11AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.