Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job as manager could be on the line as a stuttering Manchester United, who will be hoping for a revival, welcome high-flying Liverpool in Sunday’s blockbuster Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Since Solskjaer was appointed permanently the Red Devils have earned only 17 points from 16 top-flight matches – a tally which averaged over a 38-game season would see them just scrape past the 40-point mark generally needed for Premier League survival.
If United lose this game, there is a possibility that Solskjaer could be sacked by the board in order to save the club from further decline in the Premier League.
The hope for United could lie in the fact that this match comes at Old Trafford; both of their league wins this season have come at home – and both have been impressive ones too – whereas Liverpool have only won two of their last 13 league games away to other teams in the ‘big six’, although one of those did come at Chelsea already this term.
A whopping 15 points already separate the sides after just eight games of the season, with Liverpool having won all eight so far this term compared to only two league victories for United.
As if United’s hopes in this match do not look bleak enough already, they are likely to be without arguably their two best players as well.
Paul Pogba has been ruled out by Solskjaer due to an ankle injury, while David de Gea sustained a groin strain on international duty with Spain and is highly unlikely to recover in time for Sunday.
On the other hand, eight wins from eight this season have seen Liverpool open up an eight-point lead over champions Manchester City, a sizeable deficit to make up even considering how early it still is in the campaign.
In truth, Jurgen Klopp’s side have not always been as convincing as that perfect record suggests; they could have easily failed to win matches against Southampton, Chelsea and Sheffield United had their opponents showcased better finishing or not made crucial mistakes, while they needed a 95th-minute penalty to keep their 100% start alive against Leicester City before the international break.
Head To Head
Despite the contrasting fortunes of these two sides over the past couple of seasons, Liverpool have still had trouble in this fixture with only one win in their last 10 league meetings – a 3-1 triumph at Anfield last season.
The Reds are winless in their last six visits to Old Trafford across all competitions, including five on the bounce in the league – their longest wait for a top-flight victory away to United since a 10-game streak between 1991 and 2000.
Overall this will be the 231st meeting between the two sides, with United leading the all-time head-to-head by 88 wins to Liverpool’s 76.
Possible Line Up
Man Utd:Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Matic; Lingard, Mata, James; Rashford
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Everything points towards a Liverpool win in this match, and it would take a drastic change in recent form for United to get anything out of the game.