Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Liverpool
Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, January 15 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)
Match Odds: Man Utd 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 13/5
United are looking as strong as they have done for several years at the moment, having won nine games in a row in all competitions. Six of them have come in the Premier League and Jose Mourinho will be delighted with the progress being made.
The only concern for the Red Devils is that their Premier League rivals are all winning too, so they still find themselves in sixth place ahead of this weekend’s schedule.
Liverpool enter the weekend in second, only five points higher than United, so this is a huge chance for the home side to close the gap and keep their winning run going.
Jurgen Klopp’s men had a strong festive period themselves but have been disappointing in their last three games in all competitions.
A 2-2 draw at Sunderland was followed by a 0-0 FA Cup draw against Plymouth last weekend. Before the Reds then fell 1-0 at Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup semifinal on Wednesday night.
Sadio Mane is not available as a result of Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Senegal, although Philippe Coutinho has returned from injury, so Klopp needs to ensure he gets his team selection spot on for Sunday’s game.
The reverse fixture at Anfield ended 0-0 back in October but these sides have not drawn a league game at Old Trafford for 17 years, so it looks likely that someone will emerge victorious in what is a vital game at the top end of the table.
Jose Mourinho will be without Eric Bailly for the next few weeks as the defender has flown out to play for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations. Marcos Rojo is a doubt after picking up an injury in last week’s FA Cup game against Reading. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the midweek clash with Hull because of illness but should return in time for this huge match.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be without Sadio Mane for the rest of the month at least as he is with the Senegal squad for AFCON 2017. Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Marko Grujic are all doubts, while Danny Ings and Mamadou Sakho remain out.
Man Utd’s last five: W/W/W/W/W
Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/W/D
Key Stat: This will be the 50th Premier League clash between these long-standing rivals. Manchester United have won 27 of the previous 49 games.
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The United striker should be passed fit to play and the home side need him as he has been in incredible form since moving to the Premier League last summer. He has 13 goals in his first 19 league games this term and has found the net in nine of his last nine PL matches.
Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool – Both sides will fancy their chances here, as both are so dangerous going forward, but United look stronger at the minute and Liverpool have looked vulnerable since the turn of the year. The loss of Mane could prove to be a factor as the home side look poised to seal a narrow, but important victory on Sunday.