Two of the world’s top attackers will collide in a clash of the titans at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, as Manchester United play host to Liverpool in the Premier League.
The Red Devils have dropped to sixth in the table amid their poor run of form, while Jurgen Klopp’s side find themselves one point adrift of leaders Chelsea.
Champions League nights and Cristiano Ronaldo. There is hardly any better combination in football. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner literally rose head and shoulders above the rest to save United’s bacon in a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta BC in midweek.
However, as memorable as their night at Old Trafford was, United’s journey to the King Power last weekend to face Leicester City was anything but, as Patson Daka, Youri Tielemans, Jamie Vardy and Caglar Soyuncu condemned the Red Devils to their second defeat from three Premier League outings.
The pressure continues to pile on the shoulders of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is said to retain the faith of the Red Devils board for the time being, but such struggles after welcoming Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane to the club have left more questions needing to be answered.
With only one point from the last nine on offer in the Premier League, sixth-placed United are five points adrift of leaders Chelsea and could very well drop further down the rankings depending on what transpires before the Reds pay a visit to the Theatre of Dreams.
Not since October 2019 have Man United gone four games without a win in the top flight, but the Red Devils only have two victories to boast from their last seven top-flight encounters at Old Trafford, where Liverpool will aim to condemn them to a 10th home clash without a clean sheet in the Premier League.
First Manchester City, then Watford, then Atletico Madrid’s defence were powerless to stop Mohamed Salah with the ball glued to his feet, as the Egyptian wing king continued to stake his claim as the best in the world with yet another stunning solo effort at the Wanda Metropolitano – although James Milner’s deflection was a significant help.
Before running out 3-2 winners in the Spanish capital, Liverpool gave Claudio Ranieri a harsh welcome back to life in the Premier League with a five-star performance against Watford, as Roberto Firmino took home the match ball while Sadio Mane also got in on the act at Vicarage Road.
Still unbeaten in all competitions since the season commenced, second-placed Liverpool are one point behind leaders Chelsea at the time of writing and are the only team in the top flight without a single defeat to show from their opening eight matches.
Tuesday’s success over Atletico also marked the ninth game in a row that Klopp’s side have chalked up at least two goals – with the Salah-Firmino-Mane triumvirate proving just as effective as it was four years ago – and the Reds have won nine and drawn two of their last 11 away matches in the division since a 3-1 defeat to Leicester City back in February.
Furthermore, Liverpool’s 18-game unbeaten league run is currently the longest in the top four English divisions, and their thrilling 4-2 success at Old Trafford last term represented their sixth Premier League game without defeat against United, who have certainly not fortified the Theatre of Dreams from against attacks from the rampant Liverpool machine.
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Liverpool Premier League form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester United 2-3 Liverpool
While some recent encounters between Man United and Liverpool have been guilty of not living up to the billing, the impending Salah vs. Ronaldo battle should ensure that is not the case on Sunday.
The Reds’ goalscoring exploits away from home are simply astonishing, and while the roar of the Old Trafford faithful ought to spur on the hosts to net a couple of their own against a Liverpool backline that is far from impenetrable, we can only see the Merseyside contingent celebrating at the full-time whistle.