Liverpool will host Manchester United in a battle of equals on Monday night which will bring down the curtains to a hopefully entertaining weekend of Premier League action. The match has been billed as the second blockbuster of the season after the Manchester derby and fans are hoping the presence of Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho will add another dimension to this fixture steeped in history.
Liverpool have lost each of their last four Premier League clashes with Manchester United, their worst league losing streak against the Red Devils since March 2008 (five defeats). But after the installation of Klopp, especially this season, they have looked like a meaner and more effective outfit.
Jurgen Klopp has lost just one of his five meetings with Jose Mourinho (W3 D1), with that defeat coming in 2013 via a 2-0 home win for Real Madrid v Dortmund in the Champions League semi-final second leg. This bit of stat helps to even out United’s recent domination over the Reds.
Meanwhile, we take a brief look at the 3 key battles which are likely to alter the course of the match over the course of the 90 minutes.
PAUL POGBA VS JORDAN HENDERSON
It will be the Re-United Golden Boy vs the Reluctant Captain in the centre of the pitch. Paul Pogba has finally admitted the difficulty he is facing to settle into the League he left before transforming into a world beater and he will be faced with the England and Liverpool captain who will have a burning desire at the back of his mind to leave a stamp of authority on a midfield and the game where numerous stalwarts would be plying their trade in. It will be Henderson’s slog against Pogba’s flair on Monday night, Anfield.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO VS ANTONIO VALENCIA
The Brazilian is an integral part of the front line which has racked up the most goals (73) in the Premier League since October 2015. His dribbling ability and his long-range prowess have time and again enabled Liverpool to break deadlocks in matches where the opposition sit deep and try to frustrate the Reds.
He will have to deal with Antonio Valencia on the left-flank and will be faced with the pace and strength of the Ecuadorian. Valencia has looked ominous offensively but things will be more balanced on Monday night.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC VS DEJAN LOVREN
There will be a mini-battle between the Croatian and the Swede throughout the 90 minutes and Lovren has to shake off any rustiness that might have crept in after the injury setback. Zlatan has been impressive since joining United and having retired from the National team, will be refreshed for the fixture. Lovren is likely to be passed fit and both the players can expect to leave the pitch at the completion of the 90 minutes with a number of bruises on their bodies.