With the 19/20 Premier League season heating up in the new year, United face their toughest challenge yet; traveling to Anfield to take on the league leaders, Liverpool.
Sitting pretty on a 14 point lead at the top of the table, Liverpool could be the team to dethrone Manchester City as champions.
Or… United could hand the Reds their first loss of the season, on the road, in a Paris-esque 90-minute performance, sparking a Liverpool turn of form that costs them the league… Hey, Manchester United fans can dream.
Historically speaking, United have gotten the best of The (other) Reds with 88 games won, 67 drawn, and 76 lost and still have more Premier League titles, 13 to Liverpool’s goose egg, in the modern era.
United are still without Pogba, McTominay, Tuanzebe, Rojo and possibly Rashford, due to injuries… And with the January transfer window speculation in full swing Young and Lingard remain big question marks. As does “Meat Pie” Shaw with illness and a serious lack of form.
Fortunately, United have boosted defensive options in Bailly and Fosu-Mensah who both featured for the U-23’s last week.
Here’s how I predict United will line up against the current league leaders…
Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams
Greenwood, Martial, Rashford
(With a bench including Fernandes… get him in Ed!)
It’s hard to ignore the recent contributions by the academy lads Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams, and against a strong Liverpool side, they could be the difference.
Williams provides a spark at full back that takes the attack to another level. The entire team looks different and plays better when he’s charging down the left side. He’s also a more stout defender than Shaw’s been all year. With Young’s move to Italy looking a sure thing, I fully expect Williams to come in and boss the game.
Similarly, Mason Greenwood has had a standout year at the age of 18 and is proving to be a gamechanger with 9 goals at the senior level. When he, Martial, and Rashford are in free-flowing attack, it’s a beauty to watch.
With the attacking options Liverpool has, I could see the game playing out much like it did at Old Trafford in October. United with only 32% possession and hitting Liverpool on the counter. This strategy could, however, go down the drain if Liverpool go up early and the Anfield crowd gets behind the Scouse bastards.
Either way, I predict a 2-1 United victory with a Rashford pen (VAR Gods going against Liverpool for once) and a bit of Martial magic. Greenwood/Mata contributing with assists.