MX23RW : Monday, February 18 19:32:40
Mar 10, 2018 at 12.30pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 74,855
Man UtdManchester United
Rashford (14', 24')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Bailly (66' og.)

Preview: Manchester United vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool.

Manchester United head into the Premier League encounter with Liverpool on Saturday afternoon holding a two-point lead over their North-West rivals in the standings.

The two clubs hold a clear advantage over fifth-placed Chelsea as they look to qualify for next season's Champions League, but bragging rights are on offer with the reverse fixture in October ending in a goalless draw.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho applauds during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Newcastle United on November 18, 2017© SilverHub

When United produced poor performances at both Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, the criticism that they and Jose Mourinho received was deserved, but the North-West giants equally warrant praise that has not necessarily been so forthcoming for comeback wins against both Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

Such is the size of the club that any failure will naturally come under the microscope. However, Mourinho and his first-team squad deserve credit for ensuring that they at least remain in control of the race for second position at a time when Alexis Sanchez is still yet to get anywhere near to producing the same quality which led to the Chilean being the subject of interest from numerous clubs in the January transfer window.

United have not always impressed in recent months but the North-West giants have suffered just two defeats in 15, have the edge in their Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla, and can look forward to a home fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Aside from neighbours Manchester City, United remain the second best team in England.

Romelu Lukaku - another key figure at Old Trafford - has also found himself in the spotlight, with his price-tag leading to arguably unrealistic expectations in his first season at the club, but it largely goes unnoticed that the Belgian has still scored 24 goals this season, with contributions coming in 20 of his 41 outings in all competitions.

Lukaku also came to the fore against Chelsea and Palace. The assist - his sixth in the top flight this season - for Jesse Lingard's winner against the Blues went against the notion that the forward is all about power and finishing, and the composure that was shown in order to score United's equaliser at Selhurst Park proved to be the pivotal moment of the game.

There has been a tendency for both Mourinho and Lukaku to be judged on how they fare against the biggest teams in the Premier League, but both have suggested in recent games that the shackles are off. Mourinho has also proven that he feels under no obligation to keep under-performing players in the starting lineup given his handling of Paul Pogba, and that, too, can only bode well for the team going forward.

United and Mourinho still have questions to answer when taking the lead in high-profile matches. Will they thrown caution to the wind and push for a second? However, if they are successful in overcoming their biggest rivals on Saturday afternoon - regardless of tactics or performance - it will be a further sign that Mourinho is starting to get things right.

Recent form: WLWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWDWW


Jurgen Klopp watches the horror unfold during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on October 22, 2017© SilverHub

At the start of the season, Liverpool were caught between being happy with trying to secure a top-four position in the Premier League table and beginning to show the kind of significant progression that has been expected under Jurgen Klopp since his arrival in October 2015.

However, there are now clear signs that Liverpool are much closer to challenging the likes of City and United. The title is gone for this season but Klopp has already started to put the building blocks in place for the next campaign, and gaining a positive result at Old Trafford would go some way to cementing their belief that they can rival City in the long term.

Liverpool have recorded 47 points from their last 20 fixtures and in usual circumstances, it would have resulted in the Merseyside giants being much closer to the league's best team. There are still concerns over their backline - despite the addition of Virgil van Dijk - but this is a team who have now scored at least two goals in 11 of the last dozen league fixtures.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have both been in free-scoring form throughout the season, but Klopp will be relieved to see Sadio Mane finally start to produce in the final third. The Senegalese attacker has netted five times in four matches but before that, just two goals and two assists had come from 12 outings.

There will also be an increasing focus on Adam Lallana, who has struggled to get back into the mix since recovering from a thigh injury in November, but the Englishman was at least able to get through 90 minutes for the first time this season against Porto in midweek.

The fixture with the Portuguese outfit saw Klopp opt against making wholesale changes to his team and the Liverpool manager has been required to defend his selections for what was effectively a meaningless fixture, but only at 2.30pm on Saturday will the German know whether he made the right decision.

Recent form: LWDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWWD

Team News

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson barks orders during his side's Premier League clash with Watford at Vicarage Road on August 12, 2017© Offside

Klopp revealed in Friday's press conference that Jordan Henderson is likely to be involved having recovered from a dead leg.

Andrew Robertson has also been passed fit, while Georginio Wijnaldum could feature on the bench after a spell out of the side through illness.

Right-back Nathaniel Clyne continues to make progress with his recovery from a back injury, but will not be risked this weekend.

Marouane Fellaini could be involved in the United squad having recovered from a knee injury, while Mourinho has acknowledged that Eric Bailly is now considered ready to start a fixture when required.

There remains a question mark over Anthony Martial - who missed the win over Palace - while Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are unlikely to make the squad.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, McTominay; Lingard, Pogba, Sanchez; Lukaku

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Head To Head

Saturday's game will represent the 228th competitive meeting between the two teams, with United claiming 87 victories in comparison to 75 wins for Liverpool.

Remarkably, during a 10-year period between January 2006 and March 2016, there was only one draw between the clubs in 26 matches in all competitions.

However, each of the four most recent fixtures have ended in stalemates, with United currently on a five-match winless streak against their famous foes.

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We say: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

Given the most recent matches between the sides, we can only predict a closely-fought battle but with United having already defeated the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea by one-goal margins at Old Trafford this season, we are backing Mourinho's men to do the same on Saturday afternoon.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool?

Manchester United
Manchester United
Paul Pogba and Oriol Romeu in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Southampton on December 30, 2017
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Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

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1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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