Liverpool to add to ole woes?
Efe Michael Obasuyi
Oct. 20, 2019
Between them, Manchester United and Liverpool have won 38 English league titles – 20 and 18 – the most in the Premiership history. But ahead of their Premier League clash at Old Trafford this afternoon, their current positions could not be more different.
The hosts, who have two more titles than their rivals, are just two points from the relegation zone and coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær is under mounting pressure to produce results – starting with this afternoon’s game.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are riding the wave of success, continuing from where they left off last season, when they won the Champions League and finished second in the Premier League with the highest ever points total for a non-champion.
Going into matchday nine, Jürgen Klopp’s team had an eight-points lead after winning their opening eight games and will remain at the top of the table irrespective of the outcome of today’s game.
Liverpool players are taking nothing for granted though, with Scotland captain Andy Robertson saying that they should not underestimate United, irrespective of their current league position.
I have no doubt that they’ll produce a reaction after a poor performance against Newcastle
Scotland captain Andy Robertson
“I have no doubt that they’ll produce a reaction after a poor performance against Newcastle. I’m absolutely sure that they will be firing and wanting to kick-start their season.
“For them, there would be no better time to do it, than against us. But we have our own objectives and our own aims. That’s what we’ve got to be striving for.
“I don’t think it matters what your form is like in these games. It doesn’t matter that we’ve won eight on the bounce and they’re struggling. It’s Man United vs Liverpool. It will be a one-off game and we’ll see who comes out on top,” said the left back who has played in every minute of Liverpool’s Premier League campaign so far.
Robertson added that he thought the rivalry between the two teams was so special because it was historic. There have been such great battles down the years.
And they’ve always had top teams that have always fought against each other for everything on the pitch. There was some good news for Klopp ahead of the game as defender Joel Matip has declared himself fit for the game after missing the last two fixtures.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is also back in contention after having to sit out more than two months with a calf injury.
Mohamed Salah, who had to leave the field against Leicester after twisting his ankle, should also be available.
But if Klopp can relax, the same can certainly not be said of Solskjær, who not only has to deal with media reports speculating that United are in negotiations with former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, who is said to be waiting on the sidelines for Solskjær’s dismissal.
The United coach will also go into the crunch match with a host of injuries ruling out key players.
Striker Paul Pogba has been ruled out, while there is a question mark over the availability of goalkeeper David de Gea, who had to be substituted while playing for Spain during the international break.
Speaking to reporters this week Solskjær said: “David needs a scan. I think he’ll be out. It certainly looked like it anyway.
“So it’s one of those things. Paul had a scan after the Arsenal game [at the end of last month] and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no,” the coach said. The Norwegian could also be without Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard, while Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly have been ruled out. “Once we get them back fit, I think we’ll look a stronger team again,” he said.
Solskjær said that despite the lack of results, he had not been disappointed in the youngsters who had been thrown in the deep end.
“I’m very happy with the young boys.
“They’ve stepped in during difficult circumstances, at a difficult time with loads of injuries to key players.
But I feel they’ve held their own.”
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