Premier League

Liverpool vs Man Utd: does it still unleash the same passion?

Liverpool are storming towards the Premier League title, though old rivals Manchester United will be determined to stall their progress.

Big Match Focus: Man Utd v Liverpool (Sunday 16:30 GMT)

Liverpool are racing clear at the top of the table and it will surely take a miracle for the Reds not to win their first Premier League title.

Jürgen Klopp's side face old rivals Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield, with the Red Devils the only team to have taken points off Liverpool so far this season.

Unbeaten in 38 Premier League matches, Liverpool are overwhelming favourites, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a 4-0 win over struggling Norwich City on Saturday.

Can United stall Liverpool's procession, or will Klopp's men continue their stroll towards Premier League glory?

SOLSKJAER PROVING A THORN IN KLOPP'S SIDE?

A 3-1 defeat to Liverpool spelled the end of Jose Mourinho's tenure at United in December 2018, with Solskjaer taking charge on an interim basis before he was handed the reins permanently in March.

As they battled with City heading into last season's run-in, Liverpool were held to a goalless draw at Old Trafford – a result that ultimately, combined with the Reds' draw against Merseyside rivals Everton – proved crucial in handing United's neighbours the title.

Though there is no doubting who is by far the superior side, for much of their encounter at Old Trafford earlier this season, Solskjaer seemed to have got the better of his counterpart again.

United sat deep, utilising the pace of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James on the counter and, with Anthony Martial now returning to fitness, the Red Devils will almost certainly repeat that tactic again on Sunday.

It means Liverpool will have to focus on breaking down a low block, though in the form of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino they have more than enough talent to do just that.

However, with two draws from his two meetings with Klopp so far, Solskjaer can at least head to Anfield with some confidence, even if the 27-point gap between the sides suggest it should be a stroll in Stanley Park for Liverpool.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD: ALISSON v DAVID DE GEA

Liverpool stumped up a then world-record fee of €72.5million (£66.8m) to sign Alisson from Roma in 2018, a move that has certainly paid dividends.

The Brazil international is undoubtedly among the best goalkeepers in world football and, at 27, has his best years ahead of him.

United's David De Gea, on the other hand, has endured a difficult time in recent seasons, having made numerous glaring errors in big moments.

Due to injury, Alisson has made just 13 Premier League appearances this season, nine less than De Gea.

While De Gea has conceded 25 goals in those games – on average conceding every 79 minutes – Alisson has let in just five from his 13 appearances.

De Gea is not too far behind Alisson in terms of clean sheets, with four as opposed to six, though only Norwich City and Tottenham have managed fewer shut outs than United this season, while the Spaniard has made 58 saves compared to his opposite number's tally of 26.

Alisson, though, has a superior save percentage, while his passing accuracy also stands at an impressive 84 per cent.

Crucially, Alisson has made no errors leading to goals, in comparison to the two mistakes De Gea has made that have led to United conceding.

 

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool have won 61 points in the Premier League so far in 2019-20, the most any side has ever registered after 21 games in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

This is Liverpool's joint-best scoring run from the start of a season in English top-flight history, with the Reds also scoring in their opening 21 games in 1933-34. Overall, Klopp's team have scored in 30 successive league matches.

United have lost their last two away Premier League games on Merseyside against Liverpool and Everton; they have not lost three in a row in the top-flight since April 1979.

Rashford netted United's goal in the reverse fixture and, coming into this round of fixtures, no player has scored the opening goal in more different league matches this season than the England international, who has done so on six occasions.

The 22-year-old has also scored what proved to be the winning goal five times this term, though it is a figure bettered by Liverpool star Salah.

 

HISTORY SAYS...

United can take some solace from the fact that, since completing a league double over their rivals 2013-14, Liverpool have won just one of their 11 Premier League games against the Red Devils.

However, United have not won at Anfield since January 2016, with Liverpool unbeaten in four matches in total in all competitions.

Liverpool have suffered 28 defeats to United in the Premier League era, more than the Reds have lost to any other club.

Sunday's fixture marks the first time since 1990 that Liverpool have been top of the table when hosting United in a league match. They won 4-0 on the previous occasion.

With just two wins from 10 fixtures against United, Klopp has the worst win ratio against the Red Devils compared to any other side he has faced on more than 10 occasions.