Old rivals meet in the Premier League on Sunday as Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield.
Still struggling for form, it looked as though Jürgen Klopp and his Reds were back on track with victories over Everton and Newcastle. But a disappointing draw away at Crystal Palace was another setback in their hunt for top four, before victory over Wolves got them back on course.
Meanwhile, Manchester United claimed the season’s first trophy, and their first in six years, with victory over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final. Erik ten Hag’s men continue their excellent season, with eyes on joining Manchester City and Arsenal in the title race.
The Struggles Continue
Liverpool’s topsy-turvy season rolls on. A win in the Merseyside derby followed by a comfortable three points at St. James’ Park will have had the Anfield faithful hoping their fortunes had turned. But there’s always something around the corner to turn them back again.
This time it came in Europe at the hands of their 2022 Champions League final opponents Real Madrid.
Flying into a two-goal lead thanks to Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah (with a little help from Thibaut Courtois) Anfield was bouncing and it looked like being another special European night under the lights.
But, typical of their season so far, things quickly unravelled.
Vinícius Júnior pulled a goal back before a howler from goalkeeper Alisson gifted the Brazilian a second to bring the scores level.
Éder Militão put the Spaniards in front before a Karim Benzema double made it a night to forget for the Reds.
Looking to put it behind them in the league, they could only a manage a point away at Palace, with Jordan Henderson blocking Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal-bound shot summing up their luck. But a 2-0 home win against Wolves will give them some much needed confidence.
A win against their old enemies here could be the spark Klopp is looking for. Liverpool currently sit sixth, six points behind Tottenham in fourth but with a game in hand, so they’re still in the hunt for a Champions League spot. They just need some consistency.
Back Among The Trophies
Manchester United bagged their first trophy in six years by beating Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final. Lifting trophies once again after a long wait, it optimises the transformation overseen by Erik ten Hag.
Goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford in the first half put Man United in control. Newcastle huffed and puffed in the second half, but United held firm to claim the season’s first piece of silverware.
It came after a famous night in Europe that saw United come from behind to beat Barcelona in their Europa League play-off. Fred and Antony securing their place in the next round after Robert Lewandowski’s spot kick gave Barca the lead.
In the league, it’s up for debate as to whether they are in the title race or not. They’re eight points behind leaders Arsenal and six behind City in second. Although they do have a game in hand on their city rivals.
A huge win at Anfield would send a significant message to the two at the top that United aren’t going away.
It was United that ran out victorious in the reverse fixture back in August. They had just lost their opening two games and that victory was arguably the springboard for their season to come.
Marcus Rashford up against Trent Alexander-Arnold will be a key battle to keep an eye on. Probably the hottest striker in world football right now, Rashford’s form since the World Cup has been scintillating.
TAA is often criticised for the defensive side of his game. He’ll need to be right on it from minute one if he is to stop the United forward.
Midfield will be key to either teams’ chances, too. Liverpool’s has struggled at times and will be up against the imperious Casemiro, who has been an inspired signing for Ten Hag’s side. The triangle of him, Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez in the United defence is proving to be rock solid.
United’s form and Liverpool’s struggles mean the Red Devils are the favourites heading into this one. We’re going for 2-1 to Manchester United.
With kick-off at 4.30pm on Sunday, what’s your prediction for the game? Let us know and make sure you’re following @JDFootball for all the latest!
You can also check out our JD Football blog page for stacks more on all the biggest games this season!
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JD Football | November 21, 2023