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Manchester United vs Liverpool - 5 players to watch in the Northwest derby | Premier League 2021-22

Manchester United have only won one of their last ten meetings with Liverpool.
Manchester United have only won one of their last ten meetings with Liverpool.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST

Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool will resume their historic rivalry when they meet at Old Trafford on Sunday in an enticing Northwest derby.

The Red Devils, bolstered by the return of talismanic no.7 Cristiano Ronaldo, will look to inflict a first defeat on Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's men are the only unbeaten side left in the English top flight. With five wins and 18 points from eight games, Liverpool are only behind league leaders Chelsea, but are the most form side in the division.

Led by the peerless Mohamed Salah, the Merseysiders are banging in goals at a frightening rate. Considering the same, they could take out a United side prone to defensive lapses. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are winless in their last three league games. That includes a stunning 4-2 reverse at Leicester City last weekend.

However, they had an epic comeback victory over Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek. That might help the Red Devils avoid a second consecutive defeat on home soil against Liverpool for the first time since 2002.

Ahead of the mouth-watering kick-off, here's a look at the five most important players from either team to watch out for in this clash:


#5 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

The big man is back to his best this season.
The big man is back to his best this season.

Virgil van Dijk's importance to Liverpool became apparent when the then holders lost their steam following early season-ending injury last campaign. That led to the Reds relinquishing their Premier League crown rather limply.

However, the Dutchman has made a timely return to the squad this season, and it has seemed like he was never away. He's been imperious at the heart of the Liverpool defence, taking little time to conjure his best.

Is there a better centre-back in the world? πŸ€”πŸ’¬

He is physically strong defender blessed with pace, good technique and an eye for goal. Van Dijk has played a huge role in Liverpool's excellent defensive record in the league this season. They've conceded the fewest goals after Chelsea and Manchester City.

However, in their defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League this week, Van Dijk looked rusty, unsettled and out of place at times. He cannot afford an encore against Manchester United's fearsome attacking vanguard.


#4 Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

The Frenchman's playmaking skills could be key in dictating play.
The Frenchman's playmaking skills could be key in dictating play.

Where do we even begin with Paul Pogba? The World Cup-winning Frenchman is a class apart when he's playing to his full potential. He remains key to Manchester United in terms of playmaking.

He already has seven assists in the league this season, including four in their season opener against Leeds United. Pogba is a hard-working and physically strong player who excels in the air and can shoot from distance.

The 28-year-old is known for his explosive playing style. He can turn games around with sublime crosses, and makes exceptional set-piece deliveries too.

Paul Pogba. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Everyone will talk about the goalscorers but don’t sleep on the baller who got this team cooking tonight. Subbed on at 66 minutes but the clock should have read 666. Demon time once La Pioche stepped to the pitch. https://t.co/rp0iFnDdt3

Manchester United may have a stellar attack, but Pogba is the vital cog that keeps the juggernaut ticking. His big-game expertise could be crucial in United prevailing over the in-form Liverpool team.

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Edited by Bhargav
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