Liverpool chases Manchester City and can defeat Manchester United
Liverpool failed to beat Manchester City in a face-to-face match in the last round, but a draw has left the Reds one point behind the Citizens in the championship race. The fate of the title could be decided by a single misfire. Liverpool play Tuesday this midweek, while City take on Brighton on Wednesday. Jurgen Klopp’s team gets a good opportunity to double their psychological advantage over their rival, gained after winning the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Three points against Manchester United will put Liverpool in first place, Guardiola’s men will take the field at the Etihad tomorrow without the right to make a mistake, and stiffness is not the best condition for a creative team. Soccer at this stage of the season is always closely intertwined with “mind games.
However, Liverpool’s championship ambitions are of little concern to Manchester United, as the Mancunians have their own catch-up at the end of the season. Arsenal and Tottenham’s first defeat in a long time have put United back in the running for the top-four. A nervy victory over Norwich, with Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, also helped. The Red Devils have an ugly game and a strange coach, but a triumph of will in the final rounds of the championship will allow them to break into the Champions League zone. For Man United, the game at Anfield is as much a final as it is for Liverpool. The teams have different goals, but they all need a win.
- In the middle of last week, Liverpool made it to the semifinals of the Champions League with a fun shootout with Benfica at Anfield, and on Saturday, the Reds took on City at Wembley and advanced to the FA Cup final. So Liverpool, who have already won the English League Cup, continue to contend for wins in the APL, Champions League and FA Cup. Everyone can still put together a quadruple.
- Liverpool’s last four matches were against Benfica (Champions League quarterfinals) and Manchester City (APL and FA Cup semi-finals). All the matches turned out to be “topsy-turvy”, in all of which Klopp’s team both scored and conceded. Such was the series of results – 3:1, 2:2, 3:3, 3:2. All in all, 11 goals scored and 8 conceded. Do you expect the banquet to continue in the game with MJ?
- No news yet on Mohamed Salah’s new contract. The Egyptian’s current agreement runs until the end of the 2022/23 season, and it has not yet been possible to agree on an extension.
- The issue of Manchester United’s new head coach seems to have been finally resolved. On Monday, insiders of all stripes reported in one voice that Erik ten Hague will start next season at Old Trafford. “Ajax has done everything to keep the coach in Amsterdam, but ten Hague has decided to try his luck in the APL. MJ will pay 2 million euros in compensation.
- Two pieces of unpleasant news are related to Man United’s Portuguese internationals. Tragedy struck in the family of Cristiano Ronaldo: one of the newborn twins did not survive. Our condolences to Cristiano and Georgina.
- Bruno Fernandes had an accident on his way to the club’s base. Nobody was injured, and the Portuguese player got slightly injured and is ready to take part in the match against Liverpool.
Manchester United want to avenge first-round embarrassment at Old Trafford
There is no escaping the mention of the disgrace that befell Manchester United in their first-round match against Liverpool at Old Trafford. Jurgen Klopp’s side won 5-0 at home to the Mancunians, tying the final score on 50 minutes. Mohamed Salah was pounding away with a hat-trick and an assist. The impotent MU could only respond with brutality: Ole Gunnar Sulsher’s men received six yellow cards and one red (Pogba), while no disciplinary sanction was imposed on the Liverpool players.
Sulscher, after the painful fiasco in the North-West derby, lasted four more matches before being sacked and replaced by Rangnick, who was highly praised by Jurgen Klopp. Perhaps Ralf can break Manchester United’s seven-match unbeaten streak against Liverpool in the Premier League? By the way, Rangnick does have a tangible advantage over Klopp in head-to-head duels: 6 wins, 5 draws and only 2 defeats. However, the case was in Germany, and the last match was held 11 years ago. A lot has changed since then.
Human Resources and Tactics
- Jurgen Klopp has been deftly managing the rotation lately, aided by the availability of all the main squad players. Obviously, there will be changes compared to the cup game against City, the German coach will opt for freshness.
- We expect the return of Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson to the starting lineup, there will also be some changes in the attacking lineup: Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are trying to play first minutes. We will probably see Salah playing the opening minutes as he is gaining his form through matches, but Mane will be saved as Sadio got a small injury on Saturday.
- Manchester United are far from an idyll in terms of personnel. First, Rafael Varane is unlikely to be in the starting lineup, and he is likely to recover in time for the match against Arsenal at the weekend. Secondly, injuries to Fred and Scott McTominay leave Ralf Rangnick with little choice in midfield. Third, Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani remain out of action.
- Rashford started the game against Norwich on the bench, with Rangnick preferring him to Anthony Elanga on the attacking flank. However, Marcus is likely to be in the starting lineup and will play as a central striker. “Manchester United have officially confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will not play at Anfield due to a family tragedy.