WINDHOEK, OCT 21 – While the Red Devils are still fighting to establish themselves as true title contenders, Jurgen Klopp’s team are a lot further along in their development and will be looking to send a message at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’.
“These games are always a great motivation for everyone involved,” said Reds boss Klopp. “It’s a great challenge to play a team with such talent at their disposal, but we will look to impose our own way of playing and take the game to Man United.”
The hosts, meanwhile, will need to deliver in the big games if they are to stay the course of the title race with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea: “I am very confident we will get the best out of this squad,” said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “I do believe in this group of players and the coaching staff that I have got.”
Bruno Fernandes – Even the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo has not displaced Bruno Fernandes as Man United’s most important player, with the Portuguese’s passing, shooting and general leadership continuing to be a driving force for the Red Devils.
Sadio Mane – The Senegalese attacker has rediscovered his best form in a Liverpool shirt and will be a major threat to United’s defence as he drifts in off the left flank. Mane is also a key figure in the Reds’ pressing high up the pitch and forcing mistakes from opponents.
In head-to-head stats, United and Liverpool have met in 235 matches across all competition since their first clash back in 1894. The Red Devils have claimed 89 wins compared to 78 for the Merseysiders, while 68 games have been drawn.
The teams met three times across all competitions last season, with Liverpool taking four points from their Premier League games thanks to a 0-0 draw at Anfield and 4-2 win at Old Trafford, though United did claim a 3-2 home win in the FA Cup.
Battles to watch
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer v Jurgen Klopp – Klopp is undoubtedly the savvier coach and will hope his team’s pressing and intensity overwhelm a United side that is struggling to find a consistent identity under the leadership of Solskjaer.
Luke Shaw v Mohamed Salah – Shaw has been one of the most improved players in the Premier League over the past year, but he’ll face the toughest test of his defensive skills when he tries to keep a lid on Liverpool’s brilliant Egyptian attacker Salah.
Cristiano Ronaldo v Virgil van Dijk – One of the best penalty box predators in the world will come up against arguably the finest centre-back in the game today. If one of these players can get the better of the other for even just a second, it may change the course of the game.
Match broadcast details
Sunday 24 October
17:30: Manchester United v Liverpool – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League and SuperSport Maximo 1 – MultiChoice Namibia