For the second time this season, Liverpool face a challenge at the summit of the Premier League table. The Reds put on a statement performance the last time of asking, snatching the top spot from Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in a last-gasp 2-1 win.
This time it is Liverpool’s eternal rivals Manchester United—on a run of winning form that has contrasted with the Reds’ poor patch of results—who come to Anfield as another matchup of first place playing second.
United are three points clear of Liverpool at the summit after Paul Pogba’s scored the winner in his side’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Tuesday.
The France international has not played a major role in the Liverpool-United rivalry over the years, missing both meetings last season and having featured a mere three times since returning to the Premier League in 2016.
“We know the story. We know it’s Liverpool. Everybody knows it,” the 27-year-old admitted in the build up to the big game.
“When you arrive in Manchester you know the story about Liverpool and Manchester United. We know it’s a big game.
“We know they’re second, they know we’re first. We know if we win, we have six points [on them], everybody knows that.
”It’s not the game, yes it’s a game and it’s going to be a hard game. But I don’t think this game will decide the league. I know it’s going to make a difference, but it won’t decide the league.
“I know it’s an important game, but all the games are. We don’t have to make it too much about ‘Ah, it’s the game’. It’s Liverpool and when it’s Liverpool it’s always a big game.
“We know it’s going to be tough, very, very difficult. We know it. Beautiful things don’t come easy, so we know we’re going to have to get through this.“
Recent history would dictate the Reds are favored in a fixture they have lost only once in the last 10 matches.
However, with the chasing pack having caught the league holders after being six points clear at the top of the table only a few weeks ago, one imagines that a massive effort will be required to best their rivals once again.