Predicted XI

Matip to return? How Liverpool and Manchester United could line-up in Premier League clash

Jurgen Klopp will be weighing up the benefits of rushing back defender Joel Matip for Sunday's clash with Manchester United

12:34pm on Saturday 16th January 2021
Stefan Bienkowski

Liverpool and Manchester United face off in a potential Premier League title decider at Anfield on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s injury-ravaged champions will be hoping they can put a dent in a surprising title challenge from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

However, it seems likely that the Liverpool manager will have to attempt that challenge without a functioning defence. Although Klopp will be able to call upon Alisson in goals, along with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold on either flank he’ll still be without the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and a doubtful Joel Matip.

As such, it seems likely that Liverpool’s defence will have to rely upon the versatility of Fabinho at centre half, alongside Rhys Williams.

Good news for Liverpool fans should come in the form of their team’s proposed starting midfield, with Thiago Alcantara returning to a starting role alongside Jordan Henderson and Gio Wijnaldum. Similarly, Klopp should be able to rely upon the tried and tested forward line of Sadio Mane on the left, Mohamed Salah on the right and Roberto Firmino through the middle.

Unfortunately for the home side, it seems as though Man Utd expect to arrive at Anfield with a relatively full-strength squad to pick from.

In defence Solskjaer will have David de Gea in goals, behind a back four of Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Then, to ensure defensive stability, the Man Utd manager is also expected to play a defensive partnership in midfield of Scott McTominay and Fred.

This will then allow Solskjaer to play Paul Pogba on his preferred left-sided midfield role, with Marcus Rashford on the right. Partnered alongside Bruno Fernandes in the No.10 position, Man United should then expect to start Anthony Martial up front despite some doubts about his fitness ahead of the match.

How Liverpool and Man United could line-up

Liverpool vs Man Utd - Football tactics and formations

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