Manchester United have another crack at Liverpool this weekend in the FA Cup. One of the big questions ahead of the fixture is how much each side may rotate.
Liverpool gave a potential indication of their plans by actually resting Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for last night’s league fixture against Burnley.
Will they both play at Old Trafford? Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson suspects they may not, or other key players like Sadio Mane could drop out, because of their tough league fixture days later.
Lawrenson told BBC Sport: “Liverpool travel to play Tottenham in the league next Thursday, which is obviously huge for their title hopes, so I think Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will pick a team for this tie with that game in mind.”
He went on to predict a 2-1 victory for Manchester United, tipping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to get one over on his old club.
For what it’s worth, Lawrenson predicted a draw between United and Liverpool last week (1-1) and the game did end 0-0 with the points shared.
There has to be a winner this weekend at Old Trafford, with no replays in the FA Cup this season. This means extra-time and penalties if required.
Liverpool are reeling amid poor form, losing their home record last night in a 1-0 defeat to Burnley.
Up for grabs
At this early stage of the competition, it is hard to get too swept up by FA Cup hopes. An early exit would be a disappointment but not a crushing one, even if it is to Liverpool. This might not have been the case a year ago.
Our Premier League success so far this season has put us right in the title mix and has to be our top priority. Solskjaer showed this by selecting a strong side against Fulham.
One of United’s strengths right now is depth. Even with a rotated side, we are able to select international stars like Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles, who will each have a big point to prove, as will the likes of defender Axel Tuanzebe and goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
If we do lose, then it is one less distraction ahead and fewer games we focus on the league. But hopefully Lawrenson’s forecast is right, and United can land a psychological blow on Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead of their league clash with Tottenham.
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