It is one of those rare Mondays, when two football giants face off in a no-holds barred contest, with all the makings of a derby.
The fixture tonight serves more than an amazing display of skill and talent. All eyes will certainly be trained on the dugout, as two managers;Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho where an exciting plot is expected to play out.
Klopp seems to have masterminded a revolution of sorts at Anfield, with the Reds enjoying a great run of form. The form is twice as better in attack, with Liverpool netting 10 goals in the last 3 fixtures in all competitions. It is a staggering figure, that should fire sufficient warning salvos to the United backline. Liverpool has already been tested. Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester make up a list of top teams that Klopp and his men have faced and swept away with ease.
Currently, the men from Anfield lie 4th on the standings, 3 behind the log leaders. It is against the league minnows Burnley that Liverpool suffered a shocker, losing 2-0 thanks to an impoverished defense.
Liverpool has been terrible especially in dealing with dead balls and an area that could be its main undoing. Facing a potent attack force that boasts of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, the Reds cannot afford any blunders at the back tonight. A win here will go a long way in helping Liverpool assert a meaningful role to play in the destination of the title.
Klopps opposite number Jose Mourinho faces an acid test. The Red Devils have relaxed from the gas pedal and what looked like an explosive season seems to be all but an illusion. United which are currently 7th on the log will look to replicate last season’s double leg victory over the Reds. A shocking defeat to Watford and a draw against Stoke has placed Jose Mourinho under some pressure of sorts, and the seasoned manager will look to make amends pronto.
Jose and his men are seemingly struggling to find their footing at Old Trafford, despite an expensive and expansive recruitment drive and this tie presents a major acid test in their race this season. Victory would get impatient fans back to their seat while a defeat will only add to a series of disjointed performances and serve to cast more doubts on Mourinho's future.
Another of Mourinho’s dilemma on the night will be the Wayne Rooney case. After being dropped from the national team lineup, it remains to be seen if Jose maintains faith on his captain or he will drop him again.
Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum are out injured for Liverpool. Nathaniel Clyne, Emre Can and Dejan Lovren are back and could be available for selection. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and defender Luke Shaw are available for United, while Phil Jones will remain out. Manchester United is on a four match winning run against Liverpool in Premier League meetings, but coming into this one, there is little to suggest that history will play a role.
The winning momentum and consistency is currently with Liverpool, while United is struggling to find the right gear. That could be the tipping point in the match tonight, with Liverpool likely to come out on top.
Regardless of the season still being in its early stages, two things could happen tonight at the end of 90 minutes; United fans could get twice as restless and start calling for Jose’s head or the silent murmurs of another trophy-less season at Anfield could grow in volumes.
|PAOK Thessaloniki FC|