This is one of the most historic fixtures in the Premier League and arguably both clubs’ biggest rivalry. Jose Mourinho will be new to this fixture, but he has always had a poor relationship with Liverpool fans and will be eager to take the three points on Monday. He has not done well against Jurgen Klopp’s sides in the past and will recognise the threat that Liverpool pose. The home side have emerged as an outside bet for a title challenge and a victory against their most bitter rivals will send a statement to the rest of the league.
Liverpool have had an excellent start to the season, taking 16 points from their opening seven league matches. Their only blip came against Burnley, in a match where they dominated without showing the cutting edge required. The result was a wake-up call and the way that the players have reacted shows that there is a great mentality in the squad. The Reds have had a difficult run of fixtures to start the season, but they have been the better side in all of their matches. Although Jurgen Klopp has distanced himself from talk of the title, you would have to be foolish to rule them out.
After a lightning start, Manchester United stuttered before the international break, showing that there is still a lot of work for Jose Mourinho to do before their arrogance returns. The pressure is already beginning to increase on the Portuguese manager due to the huge sums of money that was invested into the squad over the summer. They are well placed in 6th place, but a loss on Monday would have a devastating effect as they would fall six points behind Liverpool. It is crucial to stay in touch with the leaders at this stage of the season and Mourinho will know that better than anybody else.
There have been some great matches between the two clubs since the inception of the Premier League, but it is Manchester United who have had the better of the fixture in recent years. The Red Devils have won the last four Premier League meetings and will take great confidence from that on Monday night. In this fixture last season, the away side triumphed 1-0 with Wayne Rooney scoring the winning goal.
- Liverpool have covered the most distance (815km) in the league this season, while Manchester United have covered the least (736km).
- Liverpool have lost more Premier League matches to Manchester United (27) than they have to any other team.
The Senegal international has had a superb start to the season in the red of Liverpool and shown the doubters why the club paid so much money to land his signature. His work rate suits playing in a Jurgen Klopp side, while his pace and directness make him perfect for the team’s counter-attacking style. He is the one player that looks irreplaceable in the Liverpool team at the moment as nobody else in the squad has the same attributes as him. Since the beginning of the season, he has scored three goals and contributed one assist, which is an incredible return. If he manages to add the consistency that was lacking last season for Southampton, Liverpool will have a fine player on their hands and one that will be key in their challenge for a top four finish. Manchester United could be forced to start Daley Blind at left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw and that will play to Mane’s strengths as he will have the beating of the Dutchman for pace.
After a superb start in a Manchester United shirt, Ibrahimovic’s form has declined and it isn’t a coincidence that the side have struggled to win matches as a result. He has only scored once in his last six matches in all competitions and that came in a Europa League game. The talismanic forward has a winning mentality and he will want to be the player to inspire Manchester United back to winning ways. He is a big-game player and will be relishing the opportunity of playing in one of the sport’s most iconic fixtures. Liverpool have looked shaky at the back this season and it is unlikely that they will be able to keep things tight for the entire 90 minutes. I expect the Swede to get back on the score-sheet on Monday in a match that will have goals in it.
Adam Lallana and Gini Wijnaldum are both doubts with injuries. Liverpool are also sweating on the fitness of Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne. Youngsters Sheyi Ojo and Joe Gomez remain on the sidelines.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a doubt for the away side with a thigh muscle strain. Phil Jones is the only confirmed absentee. Wayne Rooney is expected to start on the bench once again.
This is an incredibly difficult match to predict, but I’m leaning towards Liverpool. They have started the season in great form and have shown that they are able to up their game against the bigger sides. They have already beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester this season, while they also outperformed Tottenham in a match that finished level. Manchester United are still not certain of their strongest starting eleven and are struggling to get the best out of their big-name players. I think Liverpool will triumph in a tight match.
Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United