By Temisan Amoye,
Manchester United face a daunting task as they welcome a rampant Liverpool side led by in-form Egyptian forward, Mohammed Salah to Old Trafford in a 4.30 pm Super Sunday clash.
The Red Devils also have injury doubts to worry about, as Bruno Fernandes, Marcos Rashford and Fred could all miss out.
The Reds have been in riotous form, scoring at least three goals in eight of their last nine matches in all competitions, while their opponents have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last nine home matches in the league.
Salah has led from the front this season, leading the goal chart with seven goals in eight games, while assisting four times. Salah dubbed ” The Egyptian King” by the Anfield faithful has also been explosive in the Champions League, scoring five goals in three matches so far.
Liverpool have been impressive so far sitting 2nd on the Premier League log with 18 points from eight games ( 5W 3D 0L), winning their three Champions Leagues ties, leading Group B with a maximum nine points so far, while their North-West rivals have had a topsy-turvy season, leading their champions league group with six points, but the Red Devils sit a disappointing sixth on the PL log with 14 points ( 4W 2D 2L).
The Red Devils have been found wanting defensively, conceding ten goals in eight games, recently highlighted in the 4-2 loss to Leicester City on Matchday 8, and could be in for a tough afternoon against Liverpool’s in-form attackers.
Both teams recorded impressive wins in the Champions League, Liverpool sealed a 3-2 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano despite throwing away a 2-goal lead, with Griezmann seeing red after scoring a brace, Man United showed resilience as they fought from two goals down to win 3-2 against Atalanta at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo popping up with a late winner.
Liverpool have the upper hand against Man United in recent meetings losing just once in their last ten matches, but form goes out the window when these two rivals clash.
Liverpool will be buoyed by their recent form, as the only unbeaten team in the Premier League with an 18-game unbeaten run dating back to last season, maintaining a 100% win record in the Champions League, with their highly-rated frontline of Salah (7), Mane (5), Jota (3) and Firmino (4) in a rich vein of scoring form, accounting for 86% of the Reds’ goals (22) in the league this season.
Man United will be looking to talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, as the Portuguese superstar has been instrumental in sealing important results for United, scoring three goals in five appearances for the Red Devils so far, with the latest being a match-winning header against Atalanta in the Champions League. Youngster Mason Greenwood has also delivered so far, scoring four goals in eight appearances, and could be looked upon to be an attacking outlet for United, who are set to be without the services of Rashford.
Victory for Liverpool will see the Reds stake their claim as favourites for the Premier League title this season, a stark contrast from their injury-plagued 2020-21 season, where the Reds struggled for form amidst a severe injury crisis. Defeat for Man United will add more pressure on manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer, with fans calling for the Norwegian’s sack after a string of poor performances from the Red Devils.
A win will be vital for both sides, as it could see Liverpool top the log at the end of Matchday 8, while it could help stablilize and relieve pressure at Man United.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MAN UNITED: David de Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood
LIVERPOOL: Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Fabinho Tavares
MAN UNITED: WLDWL
MAN UNITED: Fred (Doubtful), Marcos Rashford (Doubtful) , Anthony Martial (Knock), Raphael Varane (Groin)
LIVERPOOL: Curtis Jones (Doubtful), Thiago Alcantara (Calf), Harvey Elliott (Ankle)
Liverpool win or draw. The Reds have been in solid form, led by the impressive Mohammed Salah, dispatching opponents home and away, while Alisson has been solid for the Reds in goal, showing his quality against Atletico in midweek. Man United have struggled to impose themselves against opponents, almost playing without an identity, and could have been worse off without the heroics of De Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo.