Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for today's Premier League showdown between bitter rivals Manchester United
and Liverpool at Old Trafford!
This is always one of the standout fixtures in the English football calendar, and rarely will Liverpool have come to this stadium as such overwhelming favourites for victory. The Reds are 15 points clear of their bitter rivals after just eight games of the season and are in search of history with another victory today, but their record at Old Trafford in recent years is poor and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described this as the "perfect" game for his out-of-form side.
Kickoff is just five minutes away, so let's waste no time in having a look at some interesting team news...
MAN UTD STARTING XI:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Rojo; McTominay, Fred; Young, Pereira, James; Rashford
SUBS: Romero, Jones, Williams, Garner, Mata, Greenwood, Martial
LIVERPOOL STARTING XI:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Origi
SUBS: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gomez, Lallana
KICKOFF: Here we go! Manchester United get the biggest fixture in English football underway!
The first attacking jabs from either side come in quick succession as Rashford first finds space down the left only to see his cross cut out, and then Origi tries to beat Lindelof for pace but ends up fouling the United defender.
Origi has been very sharp in the opening few minutes here - he has already tested the pace of Lindelof twice and looks to have the beating off him in that department.
It has been a positive start from United as well, though, getting forward on a few occasions already. The hosts are playing a back three with Wan-Bissaka and Young as wing-backs, and they are both playing high in an effort to curb the attacking instincts of the Liverpool full-backs.
It is United who have made the better start to this match, seeing more of the ball and territory. That was perhaps to be expected with the home advantage, but Liverpool need to get their foot on the ball and settle here.
Pereira whips a really good free kick into a dangerous area, but Robertson produces an important interception before carrying the ball clear.
Liverpool's best attacking moment of the game so far ends with the United fans cheering loudest as Firmino skews a terrible effort high into the stands. Mane's header had released the Brazilian into a bit of space but, with a lack of support, Firmino chose to try his luck from a tight angle and sliced it horribly off target.
SHOT! United break into a bit of space again here, but Pereira makes the wrong decision by going for goal from around 30 yards instead of giving an easy pass to Wan-Bissaka in support. It is a tame effort which Alisson collects.
SAVE! Really good play from Wijnaldum here as he skips away from both McTominay and Fred before shooting, but his 20-yard effort lacks the power to really trouble De Gea.
Liverpool are beginning to settle into this one now, but any thoughts that they would find this trip to Old Trafford an easy one seem to have dissipated in the opening 15 minutes. United have raised their game for the occasion so far.
United find a bit of space again coming forward, with Pereira collecting the ball and trying a back-heel inside. It ends up in the arms of Alisson, but they once again found a bit of space in an around the box.
The hosts began the match in attacking fashion, but they are just beginning to be forced a little deeper now. It is Liverpool now seeing more of the ball and applying a bit of pressure.
A quick counter from United as Rashford plays the ball inside for Pereira, who cuts inside and tries to get a shot away but sees it thwarted by Matip. Corner for United!
We're midway through this first half now and still no real goalmouth action at either end - just that one easy save for De Gea and a couple of half sights of goal so far. Considering the position of the two sides, United will be the happier right now.
SAVE! Good, driving run from McTominay as he bursts through the middle, holding off one challenge but then failing to catch his effort as he would have liked and it rolls into the arms of Alisson.
Positive play from Rashford as he bursts past Matip on the left channel, reaching the byline and trying to cut the ball back into the box. He doesn't get the latter part right, but he left Matip for dead there.
Wan-Bissaka swings a lovely cross into the box which Van Dijk needs to clear under pressure. It is United applying the pressure as we approach the half-hour mark!
At the other end Alexander-Arnold swings a cross in from deep and Firmino gets across his man, but he cannot do much with it and the danger passes for the home side.
Half an hour gone now and it has been uncomfortable for Liverpool so far. United's formation appears to have taken Liverpool by surprise and they haven't quite got to grips with how to deal with it so far. Mane and Firmino in particular haven't been able to get involved enough yet.
Liverpool have lacked any serious attacking threat so far, with that front three missing out on decent service. This is a Liverpool side far short of their best, and from United's point of view they need to capitalise while they can.
CHANCE! Just as I say that Liverpool do finally spark into life, with Mane released down the right flank. He puts a low cross into the box for Firmino, but the Brazilian puts nowhere near enough power on his effort and De Gea is left with a relatively simple save when Firmino should have done much better.
De Gea is called into action again here as he gets down well to save Firmino's header, although the offside flag is raised against the Liverpool man.
GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 LIVERPOOL (MARCUS RASHFORD)
GOAL! Manchester United look like they have taken the lead as Rashford tucks home a fine delivery from Daniel James, but there is a check from VAR on a potential foul on Origi in the build-up...
GOAL! ...THE GOAL STANDS! United take the lead as the on-field decision stands! It was a devastating break from United as James was released down the right before putting a cross into the box, and Rashford's movement gets the better of Matip to leave him with a simple finish!
There will be a lot of debate about that one if it proves to be decisive! It looked to be a foul on Origi in the buildup, but it wasn't quite enough for VAR to overturn it.
Liverpool just have not been themselves so far today. They have not played their own game at all and looked to have been shocked by the intensity of United.
Liverpool think they have equalised, but once again VAR rules in favour of Manchester United!
The goal is initially given on the field as Mane does brilliantly to hold off Lindelof and fire past De Gea, but the replay shows that the ball did strike Mane on the hand while he was controlling it. The correct decision from VAR this time, but not one that will appease Jurgen Klopp!
There will be one minute of added time at the end of this first half.
HALF TIME: MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 LIVERPOOL
Well, well, well - who was expecting that?! Manchester United go into half time with the lead over Liverpool, and it is a deserved one too despite coming in controversial circumstances.
VAR will once again be the talking point if it stays like this having stolen the headlines in the final 10 minutes of that half, but Liverpool have been far short of their best and United have risen to the occasion.
The only goal of the contest came after 36 minutes when Marcus Rashford
tucked home Daniel James's cross, although it is events in the buildup to that which will dominate the discussion if it proves to be decisive.
Origi appeared to be fouled as United won the ball back and sprung their devastating counter-attack, but referee Martin Atkinson missed it on the pitch and the VAR ruled that there was not enough contact to warrant overruling him.
Liverpool also had the ball in the back of the net towards the end of the half as Sadio Mane held off the challenge of Lindelof before firing past De Gea - a goal which was originally awarded by the referee.
However, VAR showed that the ball had hit the arm of Mane in the buildup and again ruled in favour of United to leave Liverpool needing a rare turnaround in the second half...
Liverpool will have a sense of injustice about Rashford's goal being allowed to stand, but they certainly haven't helped themselves and will need to be much better in the second half if they are to get themselves back into the game.
The Reds seem to have been taken by surprise by United's tactics and even the intensity of the hosts, but their hope will be that they cannot be as bad again in the second half.
KICKOFF: Liverpool get us back underway for the start of the second half!
Liverpool have already looked better in this second half, with Henderson and Robertson putting crosses into the box and Mane threatening inside the area as well. It looks as though Klopp has had a stern word with them.
Referee Martin Atkinson stops play after a big challenge from Van Dijk on Daniel James, despite it not being a head injury. Klopp is again not happy, and that was a strange one from the ref.
There has been a change in shape for Liverpool since half time, with the visitors in more of a 4-2-3-1 system now. Origi is through the middle, with Firmino as the number 10 and Mane and Henderson in advanced areas.
United have quickly adapted to Liverpool's change of formation and are still doing a good job of containing the visitors here. There just doesn't seem to be much there for Liverpool in an attacking sense.
Better from Liverpool now, though, as they keep United penned into their own half for a sustained period. The home crowd is making plenty of noise in an attempt to force a mistake from the visitors, though, and it eventually arrives from Robertson.
Daniel James is down again here and neither Liverpool nor United initially put the ball out for him, although Matip does eventually allow him to receive treatment. Henderson isn't happy with his teammate!
LIVERPOOL SUB: Change for Liverpool here as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Origi.
Liverpool have had 61% possession in the last 10 minutes as they just begin to take an element of control over this game. They are by no means knocking on the door just yet, but they are seeing more of the ball now.
SHOT! The ball breaks for Oxlade-Chamberlain just outside the area and he tries his luck, but he drags his effort well wide of the target. Slightly more encouraging signs for the visitors, though.
United always have that threat on the break, but the Liverpool pressure is steadily growing. The clock is increasingly in the home side's favour, though.
CLOSE! There is the threat on the break as the ball is pinged over to Rashford, who skips past one before firing a low strike narrowly wide of the target.
Fabinho has been superb this season, but he has had a shocker for Liverpool today. A few players have been far short of their best and have been doing things they wouldn't usually, and Fabinho has been the worst offender.
YELLOW CARD! Speak of the devil - Fabinho goes into the book for a cynical challenge on James, taking one for the team.
Change for Liverpool here as Henderson is replaced by Adam Lallana
- a more natural fit on that right side.
CHANCE! Half a chance for United as Young feeds the ball into the feet of Pereira, whose touch puts the ball into the path of Fred. It is a difficult opening, but Fred should still do better than lashing his effort well off target.
The Liverpool players really are not happy with Martin Atkinson here. He has made a couple of questionable decisions and the visitors feel as though he is not being consistent.
Liverpool have scored more goals in the final 15 minutes of games than any other team in recent times, so it should not be time to panic just yet. They have not looked like themselves throughout this one, though, so we perhaps cannot look too much into their usual stats.
Just over 10 minutes remaining for United to hold out now! For all of their troubles this season, this would lift a lot of the doom and gloom around the club if they can hold on!
United have changed formation again now to a 5-4-1 as they look to hold on. Liverpool look short of ideas, meanwhile, and the crosses into the box in particular have been poor today.
LIVERPOOL SUB: Another change for Liverpool as Naby Keita replaces Wijnaldum.
SHOT! Chance for United to break as James skips away from Matip before putting a ball into the box which just eludes Rashford. United keep the pressure on and Fred tries his luck, but his drive flies wide of the target.
MAN UTD SUB: Rashford gets a standing ovation from Old Trafford as he is replaced by Anthony Martial.
GOAL! MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL (ADAM LALLANA)
Liverpool finally find the equaliser as Adam Lallana comes off the bench to level things off!
It was hard to see where that goal was coming from, but it actually comes from another poor cross as Robertson's delivery bounces all the way through to Lallana, who is left with the simplest of finishes at the back post.
That is a big, big moment for Liverpool, and it is now a big five minutes or so. Liverpool may fancy their chances of going on to win this game, and suddenly it might be the hosts feeling the nerves.
SHOT! Alexander-Arnold tries to write the headlines with a stunning goal as he goes for a half-volley, but it is always rising over the crossbar.
There will be FIVE minutes of added time at the end of this match!
CLOSE! Oxlade-Chamberlain collects the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashes a powerful daisy-cutter which flashes narrowly wide of the target. That was not far away at all!
MAN UTD SUB: Change for United here as Brandon Williams replaces Pereira.
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL
Manchester United would have taken a point at the start of the day, but the way it transpired they will feel as though that was a missed opportunity after Adam Lallana popped up with an 85th-minute equaliser.
Liverpool were a long way off their usual standard throughout and see their 17-match winning run ended one short of the record, but they will be pretty relieved to have come away with anything here considering their performance.
Right, that is all we have time for this evening!
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's showdown as Manchester United end Liverpool's winning streak but see the win snatched from their grasp five minutes from time. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.
From me, though, it is goodbye for now!