Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday with a trip to take on Liverpool at Anfield.
We head into the weekend joint top of the Premier League and already seven points ahead of the Merseyside club after only seven games.
Victory at Anfield on Saturday would make another big statement towards our 2017-18 Premier League title ambitions.
Here are five reasons why I am confident Manchester United will beat Liverpool this weekend:
Liverpool have won just one of their seven matches since the summer transfer window shut. That one victory was 3-2 at Leicester City in which the hosts were controversially denied a penalty in the second half. Jurgen Klopp’s side have been thrashed 5-0 at Manchester City, held 1-1 at home by Burnley and held 1-1 at Newcastle United last time out.
Meanwhile we have won six in a row in all competitions since being held 2-2 at Stoke City. This includes 4-0 thrashings of both Everton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League and 4-1 at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
2. Manchester United Attack
Romelu Lukaku returned from his knock to score a goal in his 24-minute cameo versus Cyprus in Belgium’s final 2018 World Cup qualifying match last night. The striker has been in incredible form since joining us from Everton over the summer with seven goals in his seven Premier League games.
Supporting Lukaku in attack could be either Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford down the left – both in excellent form, and Juan Mata down the right, who has an excellent record versus Liverpool. We’re averaging three goals a game this season.
3. Liverpool defence
Whilst we’ve scored 21 goals in our seven Premier League matches, Liverpool have shipped 12 in theirs – only Crystal Palace (17) and West Ham (13) have conceded more heading into this weekend. Klopp’s side have issues in goal with neither Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius looking like Premier League quality.
In front of the goalkeeper is a centre-back partnership of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren who have both been at fault for more than one goal this season. Positioning and decision-making have been huge problems for them. Things are so bad at the back for Liverpool that Alberto Moreno is starting at left-back again. Youngster Joe Gomez has started a few game recently too.
We’ve certainly been affected by injuries of late – Paul Pogba has been out for nearly a month now and his replacement, Marouane Fellaini, was injured this past weekend whilst on international duty. Michael Carrick and Phil Jones are both doubts for this weekend’s trip to Anfield whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo have been sidelined all season. However, we have great depth. Ander Herrera can partner Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park and Chris Smalling could replace Phil Jones if need be.
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane’s injury picked up this week whilst playing for Senegal is a huge blow to Liverpool’s attack. The forward has been a huge goal threat during his time in the Premier League. His absence means that Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could play down the wings but there are few other fresh options for the manager. Brazilian duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were both with Brazil until the early hours this morning so may well not be at their best on Saturday.
5. Set Pieces
Liverpool are woeful at defending set pieces and this is something you can be sure Jose Mourinho will have prepared for. Marouane Fellaini’s absence is a blow for us here but we still have great threats in Romelu Lukaku, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic among others.
Klopp sets his team out to defend set pieces with zonal marking which has not worked for him in his two years in England. Liverpool don’t have any defenders willing to attack the ball here and you can expect Mourinho to expose the hosts on Saturday.