| Saturday, January 19th |
Premier League | Anfield
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
Sunday funday, the big match this weekend will surely be the old rivalry of Liverpool taking on Manchester United at Anfield. The Red Devils are the only teams who have walked away from a league match against Liverpool with any points this season, and that fact has left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths.
Jürgen Klopp has stated that Liverpool will have both Fabinho and Joël Matip back in contention after long injury spells. While Fabinho could still walk into Reds’ midfield in his pre-injury form, Matip may find himself with a harder battle for minutes. Joe Gomez has been an excellent replacement, reminding Klopp and the fans alike why he’d been the number one choice to partner with van Dijk until his injury last December.
Manchester United currently sit at fifth place in the league, five points shy of a coveted Champions League position, so these three points will matter far more to them than Liverpool as they try to catch up to Chelsea.
United were forced into an extra game midweek after drawing with Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a weaker side when the Wolves made their way to Old Trafford, but he still suffered an injury setback with Marcus Rashford going off after only 15 minutes on the pitch. The Red Devil’s lead scorer is said to be available for this match, but whether he’s fit to start is another question.
The last time Liverpool played Manchester United, United only maintained possession 32% of the time, and that was at their house. Coming to Anfield, we can expect to see them relinquish control even more and hope to get lucky on the break.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had an excellent game against Manchester City last week, managing to subdue Raheem Sterling, even as his team lost. But Wan-Bissaka also played an extra 90 minutes on Wednesday, so he might find himself facing some trouble with Sadio Mané running at him.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
While Fabinho and Matip will both be in the squad, it seems unlikely that either of them will make the starting XI for this game, though it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see Fabinho thrown right back into the mix.
James Milner, Naby Keïta, and Dejan Lovren are still not quite ready to get back out there, with Lovren the closest of the bunch.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pitch, Solskjaer has some serious injury problems. Paul Pogba, Axel Tuanzebe, and Scott McTominay are all out, while Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Marcus Rashford, and Luke Shaw are all doubtful for this match.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “It’s strange when you play against a high, high quality team as United still are, and they play the way they play. It makes life really difficult.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “We need a very, very good performance to go there and win, but we beat City last month, we had the PSG game. We need to get to the level of those performances, definitely, when you go away against the team that is top of the league. The last two performances we’ve had against Liverpool as well, to be fair, we’ve played them at Old Trafford twice, we’ve drawn twice and been closest to winning both of those games, so we’ve got some games to look back at and that will give us some belief, loads of belief, that if we perform to our best we’ve got a chance to win.”
Referee: Craig Pawson. Assistants: Richard West, Scott Ledger. Fourth official: Jonathan Moss. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM 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.