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Manchester United vs Liverpool: 5 Key Battles to watch out for | Premier League 2020/21

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League
Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League
Sai Teja
ANALYST
Modified 02 May 2021

Two of English football's most historic rivals, Manchester United and Liverpool, are set to face off in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils have been in stellar form this season and are currently on course to end the season in second place. It would be their highest finish since 2017/18, which was also the last time they beat Liverpool in the Premier League — a 2-1 win at Old Trafford, which saw Marcus Rashford score a brace.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds, however, have endured a difficult campaign so far. The reigning English champions have been forced to deal with several major absentees, including the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, leading to a massive crisis in central defence.

Manchester United v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Manchester United v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

Liverpool face an uphill battle to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season as they currently sit in fifth place with 54 points, and need a win against Manchester United at all costs. On the other hand, Solskjaer is yet to beat Klopp in the Premier League and will hope to register a win against their rivals.

On that note, here, we take a look at five key battles that could define the outcome of the high-profile clash at Old Trafford.


Manchester United v Liverpool: Key Battles


Luke Shaw v Mohamed Salah

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League
Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Luke Shaw has been the best left-back in the Premier League this season. The Englishman has been incredible at shutting down opposition wingers, and, more importantly, he has created more chances than any defender in the league. The Red Devils will be reliant on Shaw's lung-busting runs down the left, but he will have to be wary of Mo Salah's presence on the same flank.

Despite Liverpool's struggles this season, Salah has delivered for his side time and again with his surreal ability in the final third. His predatory instincts in front of goal and searing pace down the flank make him Liverpool's biggest attacking threat and will be another big test for Shaw.

The 20-goal Egyptian has been in red-hot form this season and scored twice during United and Liverpool's meeting in the FA Cup earlier in January. Shaw was absolutely sublime at Anfield, and will hope to replicate his display on Sunday.


Bruno Fernandes v Gini Wijnaldum

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League
Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Gini Wijnaldum could be set to play a crucial role during the upcoming game as he will lock horns with one of the best midfielders in the world, Bruno Fernandes.

The Portuguese superstar has been magnificent over the course of the season and is the man powering Manchester United's free-scoring attack. With 16 goals and 11 assists to his name this season, Fernandes has made more contributions than any midfielder in Europe and has created more chances (99) than any player.

Wijnaldum's pressing and energetic presence in the middle will be vital for Liverpool to help keep Bruno Fernandes in check during the game. The Dutch star will have to keep the 26-year-old in check and avoid giving him too much time on the ball as he is capable of hurting defences with if afforded space in the middle.


Also read: 5 Players who have created the most chances in Europe this season (2020/21)

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Published 02 May 2021
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