English Premier League. Week 21
January 15, 16:00 UTC
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Referee: Michael Oliver
The central clash of the week brings together two teams of different recent patterns. If Manchester United started the season in a dissatisfying trend, Liverpool have been fascinating since the very start of the football year. On the other hand, Manchester United have had a great December, and continue to shine in January. The recent MU success and Liverpool short downturn let Mourinho’s team be considered the favorite of the clash. But are EPL second team an easy nut to crack?
Manchester United: W_W_W_W_W
Manchester United are having the brightest part of Mourinho’s period so far. With the team’s main striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and creative playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan finding his place in Mourinho’s lineup Manchester United seem to have revived from a deep sleep. The Red Devils have improved the midfield performance in face of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, which led to high pass accuracy and less conceded goals. In fact they have conceded only four goals in their last ten matches, having scored 21. The statistics of the recent matches, overall, are fascinating for Manchester United fans. The team secured their place in English League Cup final (against Southampton), are undefeated in their last 15 games in all competitions, 11 games in English Premier League, having lost at Old Trafford last time back in September.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have better league position and show more stable form throughout the season. They are also undefeated in their last six EPL games. However, Klopp’s team failed to score in FA Cup clash against Plymouth and put themselves in trouble, in the face of replay at the rival’s stadium. Moreover, they lost the midweek League Cup semifinal against Southampton (1-0), losing the opportunity to face Manchester United in the final. This Cup disaster followed another draw against Sunderland (2-2) in the Premier League. Taking into account Tottenham being only one step behind Liverpool in the league table, Klopp’s team have no right not to put the 100% of themselves in the Sunday game.
Manchester United and Liverpool have one of the longest and most intriguing history of face-to-face clashes. However, what matters are the recent games. Last two games, including the first-leg game at Anfield (0-0) have been draws. The first clash of Klopp vs Mourinho opposition in England did not yet reveal the superior one. As regards the last ten games statistics, Manchester United are obviously winning the battle. Five wins, two draws and three losses count for Manchester’s head-to-head statistics against Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho’s side have even better number with regards the statistics at home. Only one loss in the last ten games in all competitions. However, these were another Liverpool and a whole different MU. The game ahead will be the second clash of these managers and their philosophies, and the football world hopes to get answers about one’s supremacy over the other!!!
Manchester United: Bailly (out of squad)
Liverpool: Ings (injured), Mane (out of squad)