Liverpool vs Manchester United - 3 key battles | Premier League 2019-20
In 2010 when Liverpool was set to face Manchester United, the atmosphere going into this heralded fixture was different. The Reds had a much weaker squad lead by a manager who seemed as unsure of his tactics as the fans, whereas the Red Devils were cruising in England and were one of the biggest powerhouses in Europe. Ten years later, the roles are reversed.
What a shift in power it has been in England, as the two biggest clubs in the country prepare to go face to face with each other yet again. A high-flying Liverpool side will take on an inconsistent Manchester United team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will be journeying to Anfield in an attempt to beat their fiercest rivals at a ground where they have not lost in over 50 league games.
Despite Liverpool's record start to a league season (61 points out of a possible 63), Jurgen Klopp will know that he cannot underestimate Sunday's rivals. United are the only team in England this season who have taken points off Liverpool, and after a 4-0 victory against Norwich combined with a 1-0 win against Wolves, the 20-time league champions come into this game with a bit of confidence. Of course, if the visitors are to beat the home team, it will take nothing short of a minor miracle given the form and the quality of this Liverpool squad - however, as football fans very well know, never say never.
In this article, we take a look at three key battles which could affect the outcome of this game as Solskjaer's team prepares to take on Klopp's mighty Reds -
#1 David De Gea vs the Liverpool attack
With all due respect to the Manchester United defence, their latest run of two clean sheets across all competitions will inspire no confidence when it comes to facing England's most potent attack. The likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are world-class forwards who can find the back of the net with their eyes closed, and they will be relishing having a go at a defence which has looked weak for the most part this season.
However, not all is lost for the Red Devils. There are certain players who elevate their game in certain fixtures, and on that particular day, they are nigh unstoppable. For Manchester United against Liverpool over the past few years, David De Gea has been that player.
Liverpool fans will be well aware of how good the Spaniard is. Since the start of 2013, De Gea has kept six clean sheets against the current European champions, and he has delivered spectacular performances almost every single time in this fixture. The likes of Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Mane and Salah have all been kept quiet on quite a few occasions by the amazing reflexes and point-blank saves of De Gea.
The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper may not be as good as he was from 2013 to 2018, but he is a man who steps up the plate more often than not. Salah and Co. might get past an inconsistent defence, but it will all come down to whether or not they can get the better of De Gea on that particular day.