It’s been a while since we’ve had a good old fashioned Liverpool vs Man Utd title race on our hands, isn’t it?
United‘s city rivals will of course have something to say on the matter, but this weekend, all eyes will be on Anfield, where Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool look to reassert their credentials against a United team who have taken full advantage of their recent dip to race into a lead at the top of the Premier League.
From a Liverpool perspective it doesn’t get much bigger than this – and here is the lineup they should roll out on Sunday afternoon.
Alisson (GK) – The Brazilian hasn’t quite been at the top of his game this season but his availability remains absolutely central to his team’s chances of getting a result. He’ll be busy against a United team who will set out to cause carnage on the break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – One of the best attacking right-backs in the business but, as usual when Liverpool go through a sticky patch, questions are being asked of his defensive capabilities – and not unreasonably. Still, he loves a big game masterclass, and there are few bigger games than this.
Fabinho (CB) – With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez out for much of the season, it’s difficult to see Fabinho being absent from the back line too often between now and May. His experience and reading of the game will be critical.
Rhys Williams (CB) – Four years on since a certain Trent Alexander-Arnold made his full Premier League debut – against Manchester United too – Klopp’s tendency to go bold for the big games prevails. With Joel Matip missing training on Wednesday, it may well be Williams’ time to sink or swim on the main stage.
Andy Robertson (LB) – Gone are the days, at least temporarily, when the Liverpool back line picked itself. But hell will freeze over before Robertson willingly sits out.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – Henderson can do a shift at centre-back if he has to but let’s hope we never see it again. Not because he’s bad there, but because the Liverpool midfield just can’t do without him. The Reds need their captain in the middle of the park holding everyone to account, and his half-time substitution at Aston Villa suggests Klopp knows that.
Thiago (CM) – It’s been a long few weeks from a Liverpool perspective, but three successive appearances for Thiago hopefully indicate his injury problems are behind him. The range and pace of his passing have made him a dream to watch in his fleeting Anfield career and he’ll be hoping to quarter-back his team to a huge victory here.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – Wijnaldum has only lost to United once in his Premier League career – in a game he didn’t even start. He’s Liverpool’s ever-present midfield general and regardless of the speculation over his future, leaving him out would be suicidal.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – Just the 13 goals in 16 appearances for Salah in the league this season. He scores goals so regularly that we’ve all become desensitised to it. Ended his hoodoo against United in this fixture last season and will be hoping to build on that here.
Roberto Firmino (CF) – The Brazilian is enjoying a quietly impressive season despite what the FIFA stat merchants will tell you. Started every league game this season and there is no sign that’s about to change.
Sadio Mane (LW) – A victim of his own standards, Mane has perhaps been the most disappointing of the front three this season, but a couple of goals last weekend, even against a Villa youth side, will hopefully give him the spring in his step he needs to kick on.