LONDON: When Liverpool and Manchester United conflict at Anfield on Sunday, there will likely be extra at stake than simply the same old bragging rights.
The bitter rivals are engaged in a battle for the Premier League title, with leaders United sitting three factors away from second positioned Liverpool.
AFP Sport takes a better have a look at three duels that may outline the important showdown:
** Bruno Fernandes has performed a significant function in remodeling Manchester United from also-rans to title contenders.
Widely credited with reviving United together with his fierce will to win and constructive angle, in addition to his elegant performances, the Portugal playmaker’s subsequent mission is to stamp his authority on the largest recreation of his time with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s facet.
Fernandes, signed from Sporting Lisbon final January, will head to Anfield as the primary star to win the Premier League Player of the Month award 4 occasions in a calendar 12 months after incomes the prize for December.
Overall, he has 15 targets and 9 assists in all competitions this time period, making it 27 targets and 17 assists in 48 United appearances.
No marvel Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a large admirer and can process Reds captain Jordan Henderson with subduing the midfielder on Sunday.
“He’s an impressive participant. Before he joined United, we performed in opposition to Sporting in the USA on the tour and in that recreation already you would see, ‘Wow!’,” Klopp mentioned.
“He is settled, he’s a really influential participant for United clearly, concerned in lots of issues. So, yeah, an excellent signing, sadly, for United.”
** With 17 targets in all competitions this season, Mohamed Salah will pose the largest risk to United, however the Egypt ahead can anticipate a stern problem from the revitalised Eric Bailly.
Bailly has struggled for type and health all through his United profession, however the Ivory Coast centre-back has been key to their profitable streak.
In six video games with Bailly in the workforce, United have gained 5 and drawn as soon as, conceding simply three targets.
Harry Maguire seems to be extra snug alongside Bailly, whose out-going character saved his team-mates relaxed throughout their troublesome intervals earlier this season.
United supervisor Solskjaer may additionally revert to the three-man central defence he has deployed in opposition to Liverpool in the previous.
Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are a formidable take a look at for United’s rearguard, though they’ve gone via a barren patch of late, with Liverpool netting solely as soon as in their final three league video games.
** Ravaged by accidents to his prime centre-backs, Klopp will likely be pressured to deploy Brazil midfielder Fabinho as a makeshift defender as soon as once more.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees, whereas Joel Matip has spent the final week battling to return from the adductor damage the final three video games.
Matip has returned to coaching but when he isn’t deemed prepared then Klopp must select between kids Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips to accomplice Fabinho.
That places the onus on Fabinho to take care of his stable type on the place, but it surely will not be simple in opposition to a energetic United assault led by Marcus Rashford.
Rashford and Anthony Martial have the tempo and poise to harm Liverpool, whereas Edinson Cavani’s expertise and bodily presence make him an intriguing choice.
“We know that we will beat anybody, anyplace on any given day, so to enter a recreation like this sense that if we play to our greatest we will win is an effective feeling,” Solskjaer mentioned.
“It’s a take a look at and actuality verify of the place we’re actually at as a result of we have gained many, many tight video games, scored a couple of targets in damage time, confirmed that mentality.”