Liverpool and Manchester United will resume their rivalry on Saturday with United on a roll and Liverpool in a rut.
Going into the last international break Liverpool were on a roll after just demolishing Arsenal 4-0. While that break may have been a curse, this one was much more of a blessing. They have only won one of their matches in all competitions since the last international break and they’ll be hoping this break reverses their fortunes back the other way. Starting this part of the fixture list off with Manchester United does not help a potential reversal of fortunes. Liverpool have not beaten United in the Premier League since their 3-0 win in March of 2014.
Manchester United have been on a roll all season. They’ve won all but one of their matches this season and have won by a 4-0 scoreline four times in their first seven Premier League matches. The argument against them would be that they haven’t played too many challenging teams. Of the teams they have played so far only Southampton and Everton finished in the top half last season and none of their opponents came from last years top six. The match on Saturday will give United a chance to silence the people that have complained that their good start is purely because of an easy fixture list.
Liverpool took a big hit during the international break when it was announced that Sadio Mane would miss an extended period of time after picking up a hamstring injury. Along with Mane, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be without Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne who have been out for the whole season recovering from long-term injuries.
United have not come out of the international break unscathed either after both Romelu Lukaku and Maroune Fellaini picked up injuries on Belgium duty. Lukaku seems to have recovered from his knock, but Fellaini will be out until around the end of the month, according to Physioroom.com. They’ll also continue to be without Paul Pogba, Maros Rojo, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they recover from previous injuries. Phil Jones and Michael Carrick are both late doubts for the match, according to Physioroom.com.
Liverpool: Mohammed Salah
After elevating his country to the World Cup during the international break, Salah will now look to elevate his club toward the top of the table. The Egyptian will play an important role in Liverpool’s attack in the absence of Mane. Last season when Liverpool were without Mane their attack struggled to get going, meaning they could no longer compensate for their defensive issues. Liverpool struggled to stretch teams at the end of last season and struggled to repeat the crazy offensive numbers they put up in the first half of the season. They’ll hope the arrival of Salah means they will not go through a similar rough patch in the absence of their Senegalese star.
Manchester United: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
After a sub par first season in Manchester, Mkhitaryan has started 2017/2018 like a house on fire with five assists in 553 minutes played. The Armenian has started all seven matches in the Premier League this season and has been extremely productive when on the pitch. He’s created 3.58 chances per 90 minutes this season and taken 1.79 shots per 90 minutes this season, though only 0.65 of those shots have come from inside the box. He’s been one of many fantastic players for United this season, but he could play a massive part in this derby.
Manchester United have been on a roll this season, but Liverpool are much better than any other team United have played this season. This will be extremely tight, but Jose Mourinho loves to take a conservative approach to big away games. Since Mourinho is the manager, there’s a decent chance it will end in a draw.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw