Dubai: The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United will be renewed on Sunday, with a vociferous Anfield atmosphere expected to welcome the two old foes.
The game carries major implications for both teams’ Premier League title and top-four aspirations. Liverpool enter the match after a 2-0 win against Wolves in the top-flight, while United beat West Ham 3-1 in the FA Cup.
Liverpool, who have only four wins from their last 12 games, have risen to sixth spot in the table and are six points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham, albeit with a match in hand. Nevertheless, Liverpool’s Premier League record at Anfield remains formidable, with the Reds losing just one of their last 35 top-flight games in front of their own supporters and taking 13 points from the last 15 on offer.
United, who have already won the League Cup, are seeking to emulate Liverpool’s League Cup and FA Cup double from the 2021-22 season. They defeated the Hammers in the fifth-round, keeping their hopes of a Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, and League Cup quadruple alive. However, Liverpool will be in no mood to offer any tips in that quest.
Not since putting Leicester to the sword 3-0 have United taken to the pitch in the Premier League, but their third-placed standing is still safe for the time being, and each of their last four games - all in four different tournaments - have ended in victory. The Red Devils travel to Anfield having scored at least twice in each of their last 12 games across all competitions, but they have conceded more Premier League goals (20) than they have scored (17) away from home this season.
Liverpool’s injury situation looks bleak, with all of Thiago Alcantara, Luis Diaz, Joe Gomez, and Calvin Ramsay set to miss out. Naby Keita’s knock will need assessing, but the soon-to-be free agent was never likely to make the first eleven.
Meanwhile, United have several confirmed absentees of their own in Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, and Christian Eriksen. Mason Greenwood is still not being considered for a return to first-team activities. Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw, who missed the FA Cup win over West Ham due to illness and a knock, respectively, should return.
This will be an exciting spectacle, with both teams desperate for the win. Liverpool’s home advantage and impressive record at Anfield make them the slight favorites, but United’s recent form and attacking prowess cannot be ignored.