It is often said that the best cure for losing a football match… is to play another football match. Manchester United can testify that, as they shook off their disappointing 0-2 loss to PSG in the UEFA Champions League with a strong 2-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup quarterfinals. But the schedule will continue to get tougher for The Red Devils. And this Sunday, they will host Liverpool at Old Trafford with only one clear goal in everyone’s minds. To avenge the loss from this season’s prior meeting, while taking three more points that should boost the team’s chances to end in the Top 4 once the season ends.
Manchester United could have two key players back. Defenders Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian remain out, but both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial have “a chance” to return on Sunday. Centre-back Marcos Rojo has resumed training, but he lacks match fitness. The Argentina international has not played since early December, and he’s probably not going to make the matchday squad for this rivalry match.
On the other hand, Liverpool won’t have centre-back Dejan Lovren. The Croatian missed the match against Bayern Munich earlier this week and manager Jurgen Klopp went as far as saying that he “doesn’t have a chance” to feature at Old Trafford. Star defender Virgil van Dijk will return to the side, however, after missing the match against Bayern due to a suspension. Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are likely to be out as well.
Despite losing to PSG last week, The Red Devils remain on top form. The league win against Fulham sent Manchester United into the Top 4, and they know a win here would do nothing but solidify that status going forward. The loss against PSG still hurts, but that has been the only defeat from the side since mid-December, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho. The Norwegian has already defeated Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham across all competitions. Winning against Liverpool could increase his chances of landing the permanent role of manager once the current season comes to an end.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have been very impressive in their own right. Their recent form has been patchy of late, and the numbers do not lie. They endured a scoreless draw against Bayern in the UEFA Champions League. They also lost in the FA Cup against Wolverhampton, and settled for back-to-back draws against Leicester City and West Ham United. But The Reds only have one defeat during their entire Premier League campaign. And a win here at Old Trafford would lift them to the top of the standings once again.
What is our recent record against Liverpool?
Since the start of 2010, United have faced Liverpool 12 times at Old Trafford in all competitions. We have won nine, drawn two and lost just one of those encounters. The all-time record is far more balanced, though. United have met Liverpool on 201 previous occasions since 1894. There have been 80 wins for Manchester United, 66 for Liverpool, and there have been 55 draws. United have also been superior in their previous five home matches against Liverpool in all competitions.
Liverpool’s recent form might have been patchy, but that’s not a reason to become complacent. They’re still the best team in the Premier League, and will undoubtedly represent another tough test for Solskjaer’s men. Their impressive attacking depth, plus United’s own goalscoring form at the domestic level, would suggest this one finishes with both teams scoring. It might get tougher to find a winner, but this game will certainly be close and might end up with some late drama to find out which side will eventually take home the three points.