Manchester United take on Liverpool for a blockbuster FA Cup fourth-round meeting at 5pm (UK time).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp met in a fascinating North West Derby at Anfield last week but the pre-match hype failed to translate to the turf, with the two sides playing out a goalless stalemate.
Fans will be hoping for a more eventful contest at Old Trafford this weekend when these heavyweights of the English game once again do battle, looking to book a ticket against either West Ham or Doncaster in the fifth round.
Where to watch Man Utd vs Liverpool on TV:
- UK: BBC One
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Liverpool
Man Utd vs Liverpool build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
At the start of November Liverpool were at one stage leading the pack in the Premier League and six points ahead of Man Utd. Fast forward to January and the two clubs have traded places, with the Red Devils now sitting pretty at the summit with an identical points margin.
The turning point for Solskjaer seemed to come in that 1-0 defeat to Arsenal back in November. That loss was arguably the Norwegian’s lowest ebb in the Man Utd dugout as it ended Arsenal’s 14-year winless run in the league at Old Trafford, but since then, they have gone 13 games without defeat.
For Klopp the opposite is true. When Liverpool thumped Crystal Palace 7-0 just before Christmas, the reigning champions looked unstoppable and had the rest of the division quaking in their boots. But that thumping result has since proven a poisoned chalice as the club have failed to win in the proceeding five league games.
An anticlimactic draw with Man Utd last week followed on from successive draws against West Brom and Newcastle, as well as defeat at the hands of Southampton. More recently their unbeaten streak at Anfield came to a halt as Burnley executed a smash-and-grab on Thursday, leaving Liverpool reeling and their confidence shot.
- Man Utd (vs Fulham): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Fred, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial; Cavani.
- Liverpool (vs Burnley): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Shaqiri, Wijnaldum; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Origi.
Liverpool were without Jordan Henderson for the defeat to Burnley and he is once again expected to miss out on Sunday with a muscle strain. The Liverpool captain will remain on the sidelines with Diogo Jota, Naby Keita, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Victor Lindelof is expected to return after missing the Fulham game with a lower back complication, but the likes of Marcos Rojo, Brandon Williams and Phil Jones remain out of action indefinitely.
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Key matchups Cavani vs Fabinho
Despite the match at Anfield last week finishing goalless it was not the damp squib that the scoreline would perhaps suggest. Granted, both sides fired a blank but there was an exhilarating tempo to the contest; not quite, end to end, but it certainly flowed and both sides were not quick to abandon their attacking inhibitions.
Where they came unstuck in the final third was perhaps down to some very competent defending form both sides. For Liverpool’s part, Jordan Henderson proved a diligent foil to Fabinho in one of the Premier League’s most unusual makeshift centre-back pairings, with the latter playing an absolute blinder.
The Brazilian was composed, resilient and infallible against Man Utd’s pacy frontline, so Solskjaer may seek a different approach, namely deploying Edinson Cavani, who would bring world-class experience to the attack and present an entirely different problem to Liverpool’s rearguard.
The Uruguayan produced a man-of-the-match display in midweek, with his poacher’s instinct capitalising on a faulty Fulham backline, while his general No. 9 play brought a different dimension to Solskjaer’s attack. Fabinho stifled the threat of Marcus Rashford from the off last week, but he would be able to cope with the presence of Cavani from minute one?
Robertson vs Wan-Bissaka
Two full-backs of varying styles. Andy Robertson is Liverpool’s buccaneering Scot, who has cultivated a reputation for his attacking appetite, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the no-nonsense, almost ‘old school’ full-back, who is well versed in the art of defending, but not afraid to surge forward when in possession himself.
The pair cancelled each other out last week, but it will be interesting to see how they treat one another on Sunday. Liverpool will be looking for a response but Klopp will certainly be wary of the ephemeral nosedive his side are enduring at present, so may look to tweak things.
That said, Klopp generally isn’t one to abandon style, so expect plenty of overlapping runs on Sunday, which will mean another busy afternoon for Wan-Bissaka, but who will get the last laugh?
Thiago vs Pogba
If last week’s derby taught us anything, it’s that Thiago is a sublime talent. Liverpool fans knew that when he traded Bavaria for Merseyside. He was, after all, the metronomic nexus of Hansi Flick’s Champions League-winning side, but an injury has restricted his progress so far at Anfield.
The Spaniard featured in the Man Utd showdown for his fourth game since returning from injury, and he was mesmeric, dictating the play from deep, finding pockets of space unseen to most, and just generally delighting with his rhythm in possession.
Man Utd too boast a midfielder in a bit of form. Paul Pogba has fought his way back into a consistent starting berth at Old Trafford and is looking like the youngster who once used to strut his stuff so elegantly in Turin, netting another ‘worldie’ in London on Thursday, with his strike against Fulham following on from a long-range effort against West Ham.
This will be another key battle to keep an eye on. He started out wide at Anfield last week but was restored to his natural position at Craven Cottage, and flourished. Solskjaer is unlikely to attempt the same experiment and will want to keep a lid on Thiago, which could mean beefing up the middle of the park, and another start for Pogba centrally.
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