One of the biggest derbies in world football takes place on Monday as Manchester United come up against bitter rivals Liverpool. Expect fiery exchanges, fierce clashes and two teams going all out to grab all three points at Anfield
The Reds head into the match on a four-game winning streak in the Premier League. On form, they seem to be the favourites to beat Man United at home. The Red Devils seemed to have arrested the rut they had fallen into by beating Leicester City 4-1 last month. However, they went on to draw a very winnable game against Stoke City.
Liverpool are currently fourth in the table, with many tipping them to go all the way this time. United are three points behind them in sixth place, and desperately need a win to get their season back on track.
Here are three key clashes that could decide the game.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic v/s Lovren/Matip
The defensive duo of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip has looked impressive for the Reds in recent games. They have managed to stifle the likes of Diego Costa and Jamie Vardy, but they now come up against a different breed of striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 34-year-old Swede can score in countless different ways, with a good header or a precise long distance strike or even something utterly spectacular. Lovren and Matip have never come up against the striker before, and they need to up their game against Zlatan.
Man-marking could prove to be an effective but difficult task against the physically strong striker, but zonal marking will give him the space he needs to create magic.
Philippe Coutinho v/s Eric Bailly
The Brazilian attacker is arguably the best player in the Liverpool team right now. It was his goal that won the Europa League Round of 16 clash for the Reds against Manchester United and the former Inter player will be the chief worry of the United defence.
The impressive Ivorian Eric Bailly has proved to be a rock in defence so far this season. He will be the one looking to stifle the Brazilian. While Bailly is defensively excellent when in close range of the attacking player, his main task will be to close down Coutinho and prevent him from getting into space.
Coutinho has a long range strike that can turn a game on it’s head, and this is exactly what Manchester United will be hoping to prevent.
Paul Pogba v/s Jordan Henderson
The prodigal son Paul Pogba will be feeling the fire as he prepares for his first derby game against Liverpool. The world’s most expensive player is coming off a good international break with France, recently scoring the winner against Netherlands.
However, there are still numerous critics questioning his credentials, and a good performance against arch-rivals Liverpool will surely go a long way in silencing the haters. Pogba will be looking to dominate the midfield, but in his way stands the Reds captain Jordan Henderson.
The English international will look to block Pogba every step of the way, to press him after every kick of the ball and to upstage him in this clash of rivals. Henderson looks to be playing at his best, and he already scored a long distance winner against Chelsea, and this is one battle that may just be the most consequential on the pitch.
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