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Liverpool v Man United tactical preview: Fernandes and Thiago set for battle of midfield maestros – NEWPAPER24

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Liverpool v Man United tactical preview: Fernandes and Thiago set for battle of midfield maestros

2021-01-17 09:15:45

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Probably the most titanic conflict between Liverpool and Manchester United of latest years takes place on Sunday with three factors separating the highest two sides forward of kick-off.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his aspect’s journey to Anfield couldn’t have come at a greater time after going high of the pile with victory in opposition to Burnley on Tuesday.

United have received every of their final 4 top-flight video games and have remarkably not misplaced within the Premier League for the reason that defeat by Arsenal in November when the Norwegian was closely below the cosh.

Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions in the meantime proceed to really feel the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez on the coronary heart of the defence, with the Reds winless within the Premier League since their 7-0 mauling of Crystal Palace.

Nevertheless, the Anfield aspect have a beneficial file below the German in opposition to United on house soil, however how will each bosses arrange, and the place will the sport be received and misplaced? Right here, Sportsmail takes a take a look at the important thing battles forward of this momentous conflict. 

Jurgen Klopp's side meanwhile are winless in three Premier League matches

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United tackle Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in a titanic conflict

Head-to-head file

Manchester United might have achieved one among their short-term targets in the course of the week however one other presents itself nearly instantly at Anfield.

The sport marks precisely 5 years to the day for the reason that membership’s final victory at their rivals’ yard, when a late Wayne Rooney strike settled a scrappy encounter.

That was Klopp’s first expertise of the historic fixture, however since that day in 2016, he has crushed the Outdated Trafford outfit on three events and drawn the opposite two on house soil.

The previous Borussia Dortmund boss solely took two months following the defeat to actual revenge, seeing his aspect beat United 2-0 within the first leg of the membership’s first ever European conflict within the yr they reached the Europa League last.

United have not won at Anfield since a Wayne Rooney goal sealed a scrappy 1-0 win in 2016

United haven’t received at Anfield since a Wayne Rooney purpose sealed a scrappy 1-0 win in 2016

Two goalless stalemates failed to attract a lot discover thereafter however they’ve returned to successful methods within the final two seasons.

The primary within the 2018-19 marketing campaign got here with Xherdan Shaqiri the hero and his two late targets to fireplace a lacklustre aspect to victory, and there was comparable elation and eruption within the stands when Mohamed Salah completed a swift counter to seal one other win in January 2020. 

Solskjaer believes United are ‘in a very good place’ going into the newest instalment, however latest shows on this fixture will concern him barely. Ought to he strike gold although, it might convey concerning the biggest reward in serving to elevate gamers and followers’ perception that that is their yr.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Mohamed Salah have scored important goals in recent Liverpool success

Xherdan Shaqiri and Mohamed Salah have scored essential targets in latest Liverpool success

Guests want patchy Wan-Bissaka to return good

If there was one downside from United’s win at Burnley, it was that Aaron Wan-Bissaka failed to indicate any indicators of rising from his present droop in what has been a irritating season for him.

Always focused by the Burnley attackers and bombarded with aerial duels from diagonal balls which he did not win, his defensive output in latest weeks is now changing into of commensurate concern as his finish product on the different finish.

Experiences declare the membership are involved about Wan-Bissaka’s progress, with the right-back incomes combined critiques since his £45million transfer from Crystal Palace in June 2019.

There was little or no from the 23-year-old going ahead at Turf Moor and the membership reportedly need him to register extra assists, having managed simply two this season and 6 altogether in his Outdated Trafford profession.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's patchy form continued as he was targeted by Burnley's attacking force

Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s patchy type continued as he was focused by Burnley’s attacking power

The 23-year-old has nonetheless proved his defensive credentials together with his sturdy, dependable performances in 2020, however these might be put to the check when he’s not in one of the best of type in opposition to the league’s most ruthless finisher in Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese has 9 targets and 6 assists this season and confirmed his aerial prowess in opposition to an albeit inexperienced Aston Villa of their FA Cup third spherical tie with an outstanding header to place the Reds forward.

With out fail, he harries each single one among his opponents, and that’s prone to proceed on Liverpool’s left wing as he tries to make himself a nuisance as soon as extra, whereas his risk of their air provides an entire new dimension to the conundrum Wan-Bissaka faces.

The fundamentals are there in Wan-Bissaka’s recreation to end up a very good efficiency, nonetheless the present indicators look ominous at finest. 

He will be up against Sadio Mane, who will look to challenge him out wide and in the air too

He might be up in opposition to Sadio Mane, who will look to problem him out extensive and within the air too

Fernandes and Thiago set to do battle in momentous midfield conflict

The newest editions of this historic fixture have hardly ever been goal-fests, with Liverpool’s 3-1 victory in December 2018 the highest-scoring recreation at Anfield.

However this match might properly be the turning level the place cagey, tight affairs flip into end-to-end thrillers, with two of essentially the most inventive gamers in Europe on the identical pitch.

Bruno Fernandes’ function in United’s transformation into title contenders has been nothing wanting gorgeous, with a whopping 15 targets and 9 assists already this season.

Bruno Fernandes' role in United's transformation into title contenders has been enormous

Bruno Fernandes’ function in United’s transformation into title contenders has been monumental

Main by instance is a cliche that’s banded round footballing spheres far too usually however the Portuguese personifies what’s often meant when the time period is talked about, and there’s a sense he understands the duty he shoulders.

Very hardly ever does he fade or cower away on the pitch, and has produced a number of the best moments for Solskjaer’s males this season, and there are at present few gamers within the league that may go toe-to-toe with him on the creativity entrance.

A kind of stars nonetheless who can match him for aptitude and invention is Liverpool’s Thiago Alcanatara, with the previous Bayern Munich midfielder’s life to Anfield starting with frustrations round an ankle damage and constructive Covid-19 check.

However since his restoration there have been simply glimpses that he’s able to explode together with his new membership and add to the verve created by the entrance three of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino. 

Thiago has only looked good in glimpses due to injuries and a positive coronavirus test

Thiago has solely regarded good in glimpses resulting from accidents and a constructive coronavirus check

‘He is enjoying a unique sort of recreation than everybody else. His disguise on passes is unbelievable,’ Michael Owen stated after Thiago’s 45-minute cameo in opposition to Aston Villa within the FA Cup.

Albeit in opposition to their U23s, Thiago helped a Liverpool aspect struggling to dispatch their youth staff however used all his expertise to assist them flip it round.

Now he’s tasked with placing a irritating begin behind him and combating it out with Fernandes to see who can present this largest drive from midfield and steer their aspect to victory by means of their guile and goalscoring and goal-creating capability.

Whoever does that extra effectively and with extra high quality on Sunday might be the distinction maker on the day. 

Annoyed Klopp up in opposition to it in going through serene Solskjaer 

Liverpool boss Klopp maybe has extra complications than his Norwegian counterpart heading into the mouthwatering conflict.

Centre-back Joel Matip is in a race in opposition to time to be prepared for his or her large conflict in opposition to United after struggling an adductor damage in opposition to West Brom final month.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez’s long-term absences had been papered over properly initially by Liverpool however they’ve felt the lack of the 2 first-choice central defenders in latest weeks.

The uncertainty over Matip additionally leaves Fabinho – and Klopp for that matter – in limbo as as to if he’ll begin in central defence or essentially the most deep-lying midfielder, and there may be little readability over whether or not his associate Nat Phillips and even Jordan Henderson, as was the case at Southampton.

Centre-back Joel Matip is in a race against time to be ready for the clash against United

Centre-back Joel Matip is in a race in opposition to time to be prepared for the conflict in opposition to United

Klopp maybe has let latest frustration seep into his conversations with the media, however it one thing he should guarantee doesn’t boil over and take centre stage on Sunday.

‘I hear now that Manchester United had extra penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years,’ he stated after moaning that Sadio Mane ought to have a spot kick at St Mary’s.

Solskjaer hit again at Klopp calmly by making a cheeky reference to Rafael Benitez’s notorious ‘information‘ rant when he was Liverpool boss and recommended the German is making an attempt to affect referees.

‘I do not know what number of penalties they’ve had. I do not rely what number of penalties they’ve, so in the event that they need to spend time on worrying about after we get fouled within the field, I do not spend time on that.’

Solskjaer wants to end United's torrid Anfield run but has more positive headaches than Klopp

Solskjaer needs to finish United’s torrid Anfield run however has extra constructive complications than Klopp

What he might be mulling over nonetheless is discovering a technique to finish United’s torrid winless run at Anfield.

Devising a plan to make {that a} actuality nonetheless has offered him with constructive complications in midfield and assault.

Paul Pogba’s latest shows might even see him take into account enjoying 4 midfielders in a diamond, whereas Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford might fill in for Anthony Martial if his damage is to maintain him out. 

The Norwegian has few different damage considerations, and if his staff handle to stay as calm and resolute as their supervisor, United might properly sit six factors clear on the high on the finish of the day’s play. 

Cavani could make his presence felt in opposition to Liverpool centre-backs

Manchester United’s gameplan in opposition to a combative Burnley was clearly to match their hosts bodily and regardless of a couple of tough challenges, that’s precisely what they managed to do.

Eric Bailly was on the again, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic had been within the center, and Edinson Cavani began up high.

Cavani had an early speaking to from referee Kevin Buddy however proceed to lunge in and be on the receiving finish of sturdy tackles in an intense affair at Turf Moor.

The 33-year-old scored 4 targets for United earlier than the ban imposed on him by the Soccer Affiliation for his controversial Instagram submit, and whereas he didn’t add to that tally he received into harmful positions and was even hacked down when by means of on purpose. 

Edinson Cavani gave it as good as he got at Burnley and will look to unsettle Liverpool

Edinson Cavani gave it nearly as good as he received at Burnley and can look to unsettle Liverpool

It’s within the Uruguayan’s nature to present it nearly as good as he has received and in a recreation of Sunday’s magnitude he’ll as soon as extra rise to the event.

The query stays if amid all of the uncertainty, the Liverpool centre-backs might be within the state of mind to match him each step of the way in which.

The timing and execution of his runs in direction of the close to submit and within the penalty space have triggered one of the best defenders points all through his profession, and he’ll stay a risk from set items too. 

However with Klopp at present being pressured into new combos virtually each recreation, Cavani is primed to unsettle an unfamiliar pairing each bodily and together with his motion, and eyes might be drawn how the duo who begin on the coronary heart of the defence tactically mix to avert the hazard posed from the previous PSG ahead.

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