Liverpool will travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United come Sunday, and will hope to make it nine wins in nine Premier League games.
The Reds have never beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford, and considering the form Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in, this is perhaps the best opportunity for Liverpool to finally beat them at their own ground.
Liverpool don’t have any injury issues as Joel Matip and Alisson Becker were back in training during the international break, while Manchester United have several walking wounded and will not be fielding their strongest XI (if there is such a thing).
Klopp’s side have often gone to Old Trafford as the stronger team in recent meetings, but haven’t been able to pick up the three points.
Ahead of the game, here’s a look at three players who will need to bring out their A-game and not be their casual self, like they were in February when Liverpool could only manage a tame draw.
#3 Mohamed Salah
Salah has won the golden boot twice in the last two seasons, but his record against Manchester United isn’t the best.
The Egyptian hasn’t scored against United, and although a big reason for that was the extremely defensive setup United used against Liverpool under Jose Mourinho, there’s no doubt that Salah needs to up his game.
Salah will most likely be up against Ashley Young, unless Luke Shaw, who is almost fit, can prove to Solskjaer that he is ready to return in the big game. Whoever he is facing, Salah should have the upper hand as he has pretty much recovered from his ankle injury scare that he suffered against Leicester City before the international break.
With pace and power, Salah can ease past any opposition. If United try to take on Liverpool, it could be easier for Salah. If they play a cagey game, which they most likely will, Salah will find it harder. But considering the lack of quality at United, he should be able to finally break his duck against United.
#2 Gini Wijnaldum
With Paul Pogba unavailable, Liverpool’s midfield should be able to take control of the midfield battle as Manchester United have a combination of youth and out-of-form players in that position.
While Scott McTominay hasn’t done badly, Fred has struggled to anything right and pretty much just rotates the ball or passes it sideways. The Brazilian lacks the drive, and his defensive shape isn’t the best either.
Liverpool are likely to go with a midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho, and Wijnaldum, in particular, will be key.
The Dutchman is often the player who makes the most forward runs in that midfield, and he will have to get forward quite often if Manchester United play a low-block come Sunday.
Wijnaldum is adept in the transition phases, but against a more static United defence, he will have to up his game, almost like THAT tie against Barcelona where he made the late driving runs that were unstoppable.
#1 Trent Alexander-Arnold
Remains to be seen who will play on the left wing for Manchester United as Solskjaer’s team selection is all over the place at the moment. It’s likely to be Daniel James, who is perhaps is the only bright spot in an otherwise sombre United attack.
Alexander-Arnold is likely to face James when Manchester United are attacking, but it’s his impact in the attacking third that we are going to look at.
If Manchester United play a low-block and a narrow game, Alexander-Arnold will become a crucial player when Liverpool attack. Salah can drive at defences, but if Alexander-Arnold is able to find time, which he likely will, then his deliveries and combination with Salah will become important for Liverpool.
The full-back had 12 assists last season in just 29 games, and the Reds will again need him to be active in the attacking third at Old Trafford.