Ahead of United’s biggest game of the season so far, UnitedInFocus.com’s editors give their thoughts on the match against Liverpool.
United In Focus social media manager Dave Murphy and editors Wayne Barton and Dan Burdett talk about the titanic tussle.
Jose or Klopp?
DM: 100% Jose. Klopp has had 2 years to improve Liverpool and to be honest he hasn’t. Defensively they are poorer now than 2 years ago.
DB: José. He’s doing a great job rebuilding the United squad and making us a great team to watch again. Klopp is going through a tough time at Liverpool at the moment and he’ll be under pressure to get a result against United, or at least a draw.
WB: Admittedly biased but I think, barring a temporary clouding of vision from the mainstream media and those at Anfield, it has become commonly accepted that Mourinho is by far the more accomplished and capable manager of the two. There was talk a year ago about Jose being a relic by comparison but the overall seasons of both clubs respectively put that idea to rest and it’s probably at the point where a fair few Liverpool fans are admitting, if only to themselves, that United have the better coach.
Is this a Liverpool team to fear?
DB: Not a Liverpool team to fear this season so far, but recent poor form is likely to be forgotten at Anfield this weekend. I expect Liverpool to raise their game, especially with their fans being fired up, against their most hated team.
DM: Going forward with Sane they are pretty impressive but he is a major loss to their style when he is out so I’m glad he’s not playing tomorrow.
WB: In some respects yes, but only in observing the way they took Arsenal apart. Their plan A can be impressive but in big games it depends on the opposition underperforming. I have to agree with Dan and say general form counts for little though in these games.
Both teams have key players missing. Who will miss theirs most?
DM: I think Liverpool will as they have no depth. United while weakened by the loss of Pogba and dare I say Fellaini have much better options to bring in than Liverpool do.
WB: Liverpool suffered massively without Mane last season but, as I just said, this game is a bit of a leveller. Despite Liverpool’s creaky defence, they had similar issues last season and this game was a damp squib because of crowded midfields cancelling each other out. I do have some concern that United’s injuries in this area may prove costly.
DB: Probably Liverpool. United have strengthened their squad a lot this year, so I think we can cope better when missing some players.
Where will the game be won or lost?
WB: I have to be tempted to go along with my previous answer and say midfield but honestly I don’t think the game will be won or lost there so much as it will be ruined and dampened. So I would probably say a defensive error. Liverpool have the poorer defence but United, depending on the personnel, have the individuals to make those costly mistakes.
DB: Both goalkeepers and the defences. One mistake by either side could cost them the match.
DM: Liverpool give up chances. If we put one or two away especially early on this could be a rout as they have to come at us then.
And who will win it?
DB: Hopefully United, with a late winner.
DM: United, 2-0.
WB: Considering the optimism of Dan and Dave, it’s true to form for me to play the pessimist and go for a draw, even if on paper we have a much stronger side.