On Monday 17th October, at 8pm, one of the worlds fiercest football rivalries continues. It’s Liverpool V Man United, the Klopp V Mourinho edition.
As it stands in the league Liverpool currently sit above United in 4th and share the top spot with Manchester City in terms of goals scored. But in a game like this one, these and any other stats, simply do not matter.
The Merseyside clubs fans will be buoyant following their positive start to the season, and will no doubt provide a boisterous and hostile atmosphere around Anfield. But you can bet your bottom dollar that United’s travelling fans will, as always, make their voices heard as United look to crash the party.
The question is, though, how can Man United come out on top?
fight fire with fire
The answer: United must fight fire with fire.
As I mentioned above, Liverpool are joint top scorers in the Premier League this season with 18 goals scored in 7 games.
Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, has turned his team into work horses with every player consistently giving 110% for a full 90 minutes. You only have to look at the times in which they score their goals and who is scoring them to see the evidence.
Just as many of Liverpool’s goals are coming in the second half as they are in the first, and the goals are being shared by the majority of their forwards. Coutinho, Firminho and Milner all have 4 goals and Lallana and Mane have 3.
Whilst Liverpool boast an impressive goal scoring record, the same cannot be said for their defence. Of the current top 10 teams in the league, Liverpool’s defence have conceded the most (10).
This is an area that Man United must expose in order to win the game.
We know that Liverpool will come out guns blazing. So sitting back, soaking up the pressure then hitting them on the break (which is a tactic I fear we will use) will be too risky. It will allow Liverpool to not only dominate, but dictate the tempo of the game. And with their current goal scoring rate, I wouldn’t bet against them scoring a goal or two.
It is imperative that United take a hold on the game early on. Every player needs to put in a shift. We need to play high up the pitch, move the ball around quickly and play our football in their half.
When they have possession, we need to put them under pressure, close them down quickly, afford them little time forcing them into making errors.
If we can do all of that and create chances like we did against Stoke, we’ll pull their defence apart and score 2 or 3 of our own.
Man United’s winning team
To sink Liverpool we will need pace, strength and above all, passion. And here is the team that I feel will provide just that:
GK – De Gea
RB – Valencia
CB – Bailly
CB – Smalling
LB – Shaw
CM – Herrera
CM – Pogba
RW – Rashford
AM – Mata
LW – Martial
FW – Ibrahimovic
Valencia, Shaw, Martial and Rashford will provide plenty of pace on the wings to make life difficult for the likes of Mane and Coutinho while the midfield trio of Herrera, Pogba and Mata, between them, will provide the passion and strength.
So that’s what I think it will take to beat Liverpool in their own back yard. Do you agree? If not, how would you like to see United approach the game? Would you pick a different starting XI? Give me your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you haven’t already, check out The United Stand’s Liverpool V Man United podcast special.