Manchester United entertain arch-rivals Liverpool in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s side secured a splendid 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace on Monday night, and this ensured that they stayed two points ahead of Liverpool in the pursuit of the runner-up position. The previous four meetings between the sides have ended all square, but Liverpool, in particular, could go for it this weekend, considering they rarely bog down to a challenge from the Premier League’s elite under Jurgen Klopp.
Three things to watch for:
Manchester United’s formation: Jose Mourinho has preferred the 4-3-3 formation in recent games in order to feature Paul Pogba in his preferred left-midfield position. However, the setup failed to work out during the first half at Selhurst Park, where Palace played on the counter. United managed to overturn a 2-0 deficit with the help of an additional attacker in the traditional 4-2-3-1 formation, and it may be the way to go with the Reds, though Mourinho could yet adopt an ultra-defensive approach, which was first visualised at Anfield in October.
Mohamed Salah’s performance: The Egypt international has barely put a foot wrong for the Reds since his summer arrival from AS Roma. Salah is presently tied with Harry Kane on 24 goals in Golden Boot race, and we can expect him to produce at least a few chances. For all his goalscoring exploits, Salah was pretty poor with his finishing during the goalless against United earlier in the season, but he is now on a better run to test United’s David de Gea. He has six goals in his last five league appearances (ESPN).
Alexis Sanchez’s influence: Alexis Sanchez has received a mixed reception from the United faithful since his winter arrival from Arsenal. The Chilean has only managed one goal in five Premier League appearances for United, but that also came off a missed penalty from himself. With the staggering wages on offer, Sanchez has to involve himself more in an attacking point of view, and it will be interesting to see where the 29-year-old features after having found little success on the left side of the attack.