Predicted XI

Van de Beek to start? How Manchester United and Liverpool could line-up in FA clash

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp are aiming for cup progression while keeping their players fit for key midweek matches in the Premier League.

12:48pm on Saturday 23rd January 2021
Robin Bairner

Manchester United and Liverpool will take to the field on Sunday for an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Old Trafford.

It is just a week ago that the sides clashed in the Premier League, when they played out a dire scoreless fixture at Anfield. The expectation is that this will be a more exciting match.

Both teams have been in action since that encounter, with Liverpool’s rotated squad surprisingly losing 1-0 at home to Burnley in the Premier League.

Manchester United, meanwhile, strengthened their grip ahead of the Reds thanks to a 2-1 victory over Fulham. In having to come from behind against the relegation strugglers, though, they were hardly impressive.

Both teams are set to make changes from the XI they deployed in midweek.

From a Manchester United perspective, they expect to have centre-back Victor Lindelof fit after he missed the trip to Craven Cottage with a back injury. There is no guarantee, however, that he will replace Eric Bailly in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI.

Although this is an FA Cup tie against a huge rival, United are still expected to rotate their squad to some extent. That means that goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who typically plays in the cups, will feature from the outset. In defence, Alex Telles will be given a chance ahead of Luke Shaw, and in midfield Donny van de Beek will surely be given a rare opportunity to show what he can do.

Other changes in United’s squad are down to Solskjaer, who has a league match with Sheffield United looming just three days later.

Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could come into the midfield, while Declan James and Juan Mata will be pushing to start on the flanks.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are still without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the heart of their defence. While Joel Matip is fit again, he may not be risked after featuring in midweek.

Jordan Henderson, who has played centre-back, is a doubt after missing the Burnley match, meanwhile.

Jurgen Klopp has typically played a very settled team this season but rotated his attacking options heavily against Burnley, starting only Sadio Mane. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino could, therefore, return, with Mane potentially dropping out.

The back four is set to be remodelled, with Neko Williams featuring on the right, Rhys Williams potentially playing in the centre and James Milner completing the rearguard.

Curtis Jones, meanwhile, will be pushing for a start in midfield.

Klopp will have Liverpool’s big game against Tottenham on Thursday firmly in mind when he picks his side.

How Man Utd and Liverpool could line-up

Man Utd vs Liverpool - Football tactics and formations

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