Liverpool are the hosts between this weekend’s battle of England’s two most successful clubs as Manchester United make the visit to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
Jurgen Klopp’s side start the weekend already seven points behind us, only seven games into the 2017-18 Premier League season.
The Merseyside club have also shipped 12 goals compared to our two, and only West Ham (17) and Crystal Palace (13) have let in more heading into the weekend.
Here’s how I think Liverpool will line up against us:
It’s no secret that Liverpool have issues in goal but Simon Mignolet is the best of a bad bunch with Loris Karius still unable to convince anyone since joining Liverpool more than a year ago now. Liverpool’s two clean sheets in the Premier League this season have come against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
The youngster has started in place of the injured Nathaniel Clyne in recent weeks after convincing Klopp he’s the better option over Trent Alexander-Arnold. This could be a good matchup for us with Anthony Martial terrorising the youngster from the start and Jose Mourinho being able to bring on a fresh Marcus Rashford for the final 20 minutes to do more damage.
Liverpool’s problems at the back start at Klopp’s failure to bring in a leader in defence. They only went after Virgil van Dijk over the summer and when the Dutch international failed to join from Southampton there was no backup plan. Joel Matip’s positioning has been questionable during his year and a bit in the Premier League.
Looked so good at the Saints with Morgan Schneiderlin in front of him but Dejan Lovren has made a number of costly errors during his time at Liverpool. The Croatian is set to come up against Romelu Lukaku this weekend. The Belgian striker has seven goals in his seven Premier League matches for us. If Henrikh Mkhitaryan starts in the number 10 role I fully expect the Armenian to cause Lovren further problems too.
In a somewhat surprising moving, Klopp has gone back to Alberto Moreno this season after James Milner started the majority of last season at left-back. If the Spaniard does indeed start there this weekend we can expect Juan Mata to tear him apart.
Liverpool fans get behind their captain when they win but I still question Jordan Henderson’s ability and leadership on the pitch. Yes, he can pass a ball but I can’t recall an occasion where he’s been able to drag his side to victory.
The German international has some decent technical ability and we shouldn’t overlook his attacking build up play. However, we have Nemanja Matic in the centre of our midfield and the Serbian commands games. Emre Can is also vulnerable to leaving gaps in the Liverpool midfield which the likes of Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera are more than capable of making the most of on Saturday.
The Dutch international was good at St James’ Park for Newcastle but he’s not convinced since his £23 million move to Anfield last summer. Georginio Wijnaldum has been wasteful during his time at Liverpool so far and seems to either have poor vision or decision making in the final third.
Perhaps Liverpool’s biggest threat this weekend, added by the fact that Jose Mourinho hasn’t settled on a left-back yet. I think Ashley Young will get the nod ahead of Daley Blind due to his pace. But this would mean Young cannot afford to bomb forward as frequently as usual because Mohamed Salah is quick and poses a good threat on his left peg, cutting in from the right. The Egyptian has got himself in lots of great positions for his side this season but hasn’t always had the finishing touch to match.
Roberto Firmino was part of Brazil’s squad for their qualifying games this pat week but didn’t feature in their 3-0 win over Chile on Wednesday morning. However, could jet lag be an issue for him? If so, Daniel Sturridge is fit for a change and could make the starting lineup on Saturday.
He’s finally up and running this seaosn following his failed summer move to Barcelona and then starting the season injured. However, Philippe Coutinho did play for Brazil on Wednesday morning and seemingly won’t have had much rest, whilst also a long flight home. I’ll be a little surprised if he starts this one to be honest, but Sadio Mane’s injury means Klopp doesn’t have much else. I guess there is also Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain…
Here’s how Liverpool should line up versus Manchester United: