10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Man United

Liverpool host misfiring rivals Man United on Tuesday evening, in what is a huge Premier League clash as the Reds fight for the title and the visitors a top-four spot.

The Reds reached the FA Cup final with a 3-2 win over Man City on Saturday, blowing Pep Guardiola’s side away in the first half.

There is no rest for Liverpool, however, with a must-win match at home to United up next, in this most relentless of seasons.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.

1. A season to forget for United

Back in August, United were seen as genuine title challengers by some, following the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

Things haven’t panned out that way, though, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relieved of his duties back in November and the Red Devils languishing in fifth place under Ralf Rangnick.

The 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool was the definition of humiliation and they have increasingly looked like a bunch of disinterested players.

That being said, there is still quality in the squad, not least Ronaldo, and they would love to damage the Reds’ quadruple hopes.

2. Post-Fergie slump goes on

Liverpool fans know all too well about being the best country for decades, only to fade into obscurity soon after.

All of a sudden, it is nine years since Alex Ferguson left United and there has been no title to celebrate in that period.

Not only that, but a trophy hasn’t been won since back in 2017 when victory over Ajax saw Europa League glory sealed.

Nine years can become 30 very quickly!

3. Possible United XI

United go into Tuesday’s game with plenty of injury problems, with as many as five important figures missing.

Luke Shaw is still sidelined with an injury stemming from a previous broken leg, while Varane is also missing, as are Scott McTominay, Fred and Edinson Cavani.

It seems likely that a similar team will be fielded to the one that won 3-2 at home to Norwich on Saturday afternoon, with Ronaldo predictably leading the line.

Bruno Fernandes is available, despite being involved in a car crash on Monday.

Predicted United XI: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba, Bruno; Elanga, Sancho, Ronaldo.

4. Who’s out for Liverpool?

Once again, Jurgen Klopp has been given the luxury of having no injury problems, which is something he could have only dreamed of last season.

Despite the relentless nature of Liverpool’s matches, every squad player is available for selection for the visit of United – talk about good problems to have!

Make the most of situations such as these, they don’t happen often.

5. Likely Reds lineup

It would be a surprise if Klopp named an unchanged starting lineup on Tuesday, with rotation needed in order to retain freshness in the squad.

Joel Matip could replace goalscorer supreme Ibrahima Konate at centre-back, while Jordan Henderson is a contender to come into the midfield.

That being said, Fabinho, Thiago and Naby Keita look magnificent together, so will Klopp be willing to make a change there?

Meanwhile, Diogo Jota could come in for Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz or Sadio Mane – the former is in the poorest form of the three, but it would be a surprise if he was left out.

Potential Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Salah, Diaz, Mane.

6. ‘Only question of time’ for Salah

Speaking in his press conference on Monday, Klopp played down concerns surrounding Salah’s recent dip in form:

“It’s a completely normal spell that Mo is going through. We’ve spoken about all the physical demands he’s faced in the last few months. It’s completely normal.

“I liked [his] game against City, a lot. He played a really good football game. It is only a question of time when he will score as well.

“Unlucky in these little moments, he was close enough now for a couple of times.

“The moment will definitely come and I’m really happy with the form he showed last week.”

Here’s hoping Salah adds to his seven goals in nine outings against United on Tuesday, having scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

7. Last 5 at home to United

Liverpool have a solid recent record at home to United, not losing any of their five last meetings, although it could have been better.

Last season’s 0-0 draw in front of an empty Anfield was a drab affair, with United missing a great opportunity to beat an injury-plagued Reds side.

In the 2019/20 title-winning season, Liverpool picked up a memorable 2-0 win, as Virgil van Dijk and Salah inspired them to glory.

There was also the Xherdan Shaqiri-inspired 3-1 triumph in 2018/19 and two more goalless draws occurred in the two seasons before that.

8. Did You Know?

It is unknown whether or not Konate will start against United, but his record for Liverpool since joining suggests he should.

The Frenchman has now made 22 appearances for the Reds and he is yet to taste defeat, making a superb start to life at Anfield.

Seventeen of those games have ended in wins, with five draws also occurring, with the 2-2 draw at home to Brighton arguably Konate’s most disappointing result, in terms of games he has started.

He is still raw at times and will improve further in the coming years, but he has already enjoyed a huge influence, as his record shows.

9. Atkinson under the spotlight

Martin Atkinson has been confirmed as the referee for English football’s biggest game, as he looks to avoid controversy at Anfield.

This is only the second Liverpool league game he has overseen this season, with the other match the 1-0 win away to Burnley in February.

Atkinson also refereed the respective FA Cup and League Cup wins over Norwich and Arsenal, however, so it bodes well ahead of Tuesday night.

The dreaded Paul Tierney is on VAR, however!

10. “And it’s live…”

Tuesday’s match is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.

Apex Football’s matchday live blog will be in full swing from 7.15pm. Don’t forget to join us on the live article or Hype Chat in the match page! See you at that time!

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