Sunday’s bop with Manchester United arrives on the heels of Liverpool’s dramatic victory over Napoli, securing ever more Champions League football. Jürgen Klopp’s team is in good form right now and high on belief.
Liverpool, having spent the week in first place in the Premier League, will be favorites to take all three points from Jose Mourinho’s side at Anfield. United had gone far afield of the top four but have pulled themselves up to a tolerable sixth place with a win over struggling Fulham and a run of draws.
It may end up being a season to forget for United but, at present, Mourinho still has plenty of players in his squad that can hurt Liverpool if they get the chance. Paul Pogba’s talent is undeniable. Marcus Rashford is sharp and quick. Juan Mata can pick a pass. Liverpool will have to be just as turned on against United as they were against Napoli on Tuesday if they are to get everything they can from the game.
Gini Wijnaldum has had a look over the fence and, by what he’s seen, the Liverpool midfielder is predicting a tough match.
“It’s a nice game and we’ll try to put in the same performance that we did against Napoli,” said Wijnaldum.
“Things can happen, everyone can have a bad season. I think the year before I came Liverpool finished eighth so those things can happen. That does not mean United are not a good team with good players.
“Last season with the same players they finished second. One season goes well, one season a little bit more difficult.
“It doesn’t mean they have a bad team: they have good players, a good manager, and they know how to manage games and win games – or not to lose games. It is going to be difficult.”
United also arrive at the start of a minor injury crisis for Jürgen Klopp. Liverpool are down to their last two senior centre backs and may have to get creative with another James Milner at right back situation as Trent Alexander-Arnold is not expected to recover from the foot injury he picked up against Napoli.
Klopp has options elsewhere. Fabinho and Naby Keita could find their way into the starting XI. Xherdan Shaqiri is an option for the manager as well. This Liverpool bench is deeper than we’ve seen in a long time. Injuries always make the squad feel thin, but Klopp has a variety of talented players with which to plan his approach towards a match and more importantly a handful of guys that can cover a variety of roles due to their versatility.
“That is important this season,” Wijnaldum said.
“Everyone has stepped up, everyone has different qualities. We try to bring them together and be as strong as possible. I hope it works until the end of the season and hope we can do big things.”