The race for who finishes in second-place in the Premier League will definitely go down to the wire, but on Saturday Manchester United and Liverpool have the chance to stake a claim.
In a rivalry that has spanned decades, the history between these two clubs cannot be understated as it goes a long way back.
This week’s fixture may not compare with some of the most iconic and memorable matches between the Red Devils and the Anfield side, but it qualifies as one that will see some of the most exciting talents on display.
The likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Saido Mane will be leading the attack on Liverpool whiles Man United will also look towards Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez.
However, whereas Liverpool is certain of the influence of their attacking trident, United would struggle to do same.
The case of Sanchez is one that many Red Devils fans find very difficult to understand with the Chilean struggling to adapt to life at Old Trafford.
The former Arsenal forward has amazing talent but his performances since moving to Man United have been nothing short of appalling.
Below are the five reasons why Sanchez must be dropped from the Liverpool game this weekend.
#5 He has a poor record against Liverpool
Sanchez often struggles when playing against Liverpool.
In seven games against the Reds, the Chilean forward has netted just twice. Unfortunately, the Liverpool side that United will be facing on Saturday is very organised and it will be very difficult for Sanchez to have his way.
It is not like the former Barcelona attacker has been that influential since arriving at Man United.
Against Tottenham Hotspur, he had one of his worst games ever. And even when Jose Mourinho’s side defeated Chelsea two weeks ago, it was the influence of other players rather than the impact Sanchez had on the side.
His recent struggles mean there is a likelihood his poor record against Liverpool would continue if he is named in the starting line-up.
#4 Sanchez is badly out of form
The arrival of Sanchez came with a lot of buzz but even he will be the first to admit that he has been off his best since joining the Red Devils.
The 29-year-old has netted just once for Mourinho’s men – against Huddersfiled in the Premier League – but has since failed to sparkle at Old Trafford.
His subsequent games for the club have seen him either go completely go missing or easily dispossessed off the ball when he has it to his feet.
In fact, the Chilean forward has lost the ball more times than any other player in the Premier League this season.
It is said that no player loses his talent overnight, but it is obvious that the current Sanchez is not the same as the one who scored 30 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season.
Whiles he has often showed flashes of the player the world knows, his form suggests he is far from his brilliant best.
It will definitely take some balls to drop a player who is the highest earner in the Premier League from your starting XI, but if there is anything Mourinho is noted for, then it’s his lack of respect for personality.
#3 His best position is not known
Sanchez is one of the most versatile players you would ever come across. However, the former Barcelona and Udinese forward has struggled to settle in this United team.
He has been used on the left side of attack, right side of attack, as a No. 10 and even as a false striker at some point – yet he is still doesn’t seem at home.
As it stands, his best position in the team is not known and it is a conundrum that Mourinho has failed to find answers to.
Just a few weeks ago the Portuguese manager was facing the same problem with regards to Pogba’s place in the team and he took the bold decision to drop the France international for Scott McTominay.
The Sanchez situation is currently no different and, perhaps, it’s time to drop the Chilean forward to the bench.
In Anthony Martial, the Red Devils have a player who has adapted so well to that left-wing position and has already recoded double figures in terms of goals playing from wide.
The former Monaco star is currently a better bet than the struggling Sanchez and Mourinho must consider this when drawing his team sheet against Liverpool.
#2 He doesn’t fit in Mourinho’s tactical set-up
Rarely does Mourinho go at full length to acquire the services of a player that he does not have the perfect plan for.
However, it appears the former Chelsea boss is at sea with where to particularly fix Sanchez in his tactical system.
The Chilean is a player who feels uncomfortable any time he is without the ball. As a result, he is most often seen drifting away from his natural offensive position to either win back the ball or get himself involved in his team’s play.
Last month Mourinho complained about Sanchez’s knack for dropping too deep, insisting he would prefer to have the former Barcelona attacker in advanced positions when United have the ball.
But the Chilean is simply not that player who will stick to his assigned role on the pitch. The 29-year-old’s hard-working nature is something that is good, but at the moment it is affecting United’s tactical play.
Against Liverpool the Red Devils are likely to rely on counter attacks and having Sanchez and the other attackers stay upfront to be on the receiving ends of such moves will be key if Mourinho’s men are to walk away with the three points.
When Man United played against Sevilla in the first-leg of the Champions League last 16, the Red Devils lost control of the game due to Sanchez’s inability to adapt to Mourinho’s defensive tactics.
And it was no surprise that the team began to play better immediately after he was brought off. The little details are what will decide Saturday’s game between United and Liverpool, and using players who fully understand a manager’s philosophy forms parts of these details.
On that score, Sanchez should find himself on the bench when Liverpool visit Old Trafford.
#1 Lack of cohesion with other attackers
Manchester United may not have scored many goals as compared to Manchester City and Liverpool this season, but the Red Devils boast a very star-studded attack – a forward line made even better by the addition of Sanchez.
However, Mourinho’s side has struggled to score enough goals because of an apparent lack of cohesion between the United attackers.
Often Lukaku looks to be on a different wavelength to the others and Sanchez’s kick-and-run game, in particular, does not suit most of the United players.
The cohesion is simply not there despite the worth of quality that the Chilean brings on board.
Due to this, it would be better to start Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford or Martial who know each other better.
Starting with Sanchez is never a bad idea, but the problem is that he has still not gotten accustomed to his team-mates and that might hinder team telepathy.
Against such a sharp Liverpool side, the last thing any opponent needs is a slow start or a lack of cohesion up front.