It is the biggest derby in English football, but it means so much more to Liverpool as their Top 4 hopes hang in the balance with the Reds needing to win all of their last 4 games in the Premier League if they are to play in Europe next season. Manchester United, who played yesterday against Leicester City, portrayed a toothless performance as they lost 2-1 at home and while several important players were rested, Ole will now use these players to end Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the Top 4 on Thursday night.
Will United grab the opportunity to deny Liverpool from Champions League football?
Although United were initially scheduled to play this game at the start of the month, a bunch of United fans invaded the pitch, resulting in the game being called off.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has never had a good relationship with Liverpool or Jurgen Klopp and Thursday night could be the perfect day to show how badly Solskjaer and United want to defeat Liverpool, something Solskjaer has not achieved yet in the Premier League. United’s last victory against the Reds was in March 2018 under Jose Mourinho as they went on to finish 2nd in the table, behind Manchester City. The scenario is pretty similar and United will be hoping to re-create a similar result as there is nothing more they would love than to derail Liverpool’s season.
However, United showcased a lacklustre performance on Tuesday night as Leicester carved United apart several times, and the Red Devils were lucky only to concede twice. While many of the starters were given a rest, Mason Greenwood maintained his clinical quality in front of the goal, as he scored after 15 minutes with United’s only shot on target. Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, and Edinson Cavani were subbed into the game, but even they couldn’t influence the game, and United handed Manchester City their 3rd Premier League title in 4 years.
Thursday night will be quite different as the likes of Rashford, Fernandes, and Paul Pogba will surely start the game. One of United’s bad habits this season has been conceding early on, as they did so against Leicester as well. Solskjaer will surely want his team to control the game from start to finish and not leave any stones unturned.
Man Utd injury news:
Harry Maguire is set to be out till the end of the Premier League season due to a ligament injury while the defender is also doubtful for the Europa League final in 2 weeks. Daniel James will also be a doubt for the game, however, the winger will at best be on the bench even in full fitness. Anthony Martial and Phil Jones are still on the road to recovery with the duo hopefully returning for the start of next season.
Make or break for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool:
Liverpool understands the importance of this game, but there is a lot more to play for on Thursday besides just bragging rights. Liverpool’s destiny currently lies in the hands of teams above them and a victory against United will create a lot of pressure on the likes of Chelsea and Leicester who are hoping that they have sealed a place in the Top 4.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been majorly plagued with injuries this season but missing out on Champions League football will be a huge loss not only in terms of revenue but also the kind of players the club will be able to attract in the summer.
They were impressive on the weekend as they managed the game against Southampton from start to finish as Thiago Alcantara ran the game from midfield and scored his first Premier League goal for the club as the Reds secured an important three points at Anfield. The Spaniard has largely underperformed, although injuries have hampered his form, a story which is true for a lot of players in the Liverpool squad this season.
While Diogo Jota did start on the weekend, Roberto Firmino could be the choice against United due to his excellent understanding with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Salah will also have one eye on the race for the Premier League golden boot, with the Egyptian only a goal behind Harry Kane. Rhys Williams showcased a commanding performance on the weekend and might have to do so again with Ozan Kabak still out with injury.
The braggings rights are up for grabs as are the 3 points, and Jurgen Klopp will want to take both away from Old Trafford on Thursday night as it could massively boost Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the Top 4 this year.
Liverpool Injury News:
Ozan Kabak is still out with the injury that kept him out of the game against Southampton on the weekend but will be hoping to make a comeback before the end of the season. Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Jordan Henderson will be out for the rest of the season, as will the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip, with the trio being out with long-term injuries. James Milner, Naby Keita, and Ben Davies will also not be included in the squad traveling to United on Thursday due to their respective injuries.
Manchester United XI: Dean Henderson- Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Victor Lindelof; Eric Bailiy; Luke Shaw- Scott McTominay; Fred; Bruno Fernandes; Paul Pogba- Marcus Rashford; Edinson Cavani.
LIVERPOOL XI: Allison Becker- Trent Alexander Arnold; Rhys Williams; Nathaniel Phillips; Andrew Robertson- Fabinho; Thiago Alcantara; Georginio Wijnaldum- Sadio Mane; Roberto Firmino; Mohamed Salah.