4 Key Battles ahead of Manchester United vs Liverpool

4 Key Battles ahead of Manchester United vs Liverpool
Mar 9, 2018

Liverpool Manchester United Premier League

The team sheets of these two historic rivals is a cornucopia of footballing talent.

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David de Gea vs Mohammed Salah

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Top in the league in terms of number of clean sheets kept (15 clean sheets), United’s undisputed number one has single-handedly saved his side on numerous occasions over the last few seasons.

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Tied with Tottenham’s Harry Kane on 24 goals at the top of scoring charts, Mo Salah has been nothing short of a scoring sensation for the Reds this season.

Expect some real sparks to fly here when the near-impregnable goal of De Gea meets the prolific Mo Salah, who has had little trouble beating all the top keepers in the league so far.

Paul Pogba vs Jordan Henderson

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The midfield battle will be largely focused on United’s Paul Pogba, who will attempt to find that ball into the final third, and Reds captain Jordan Henderson who will be tasked to rein in United’s midfield.

Pogba has been under constant scrutiny since his £89million switch from Juventus. The 24 year-old has drew both high praise and sharp criticism from fans and pundits alike as his performances have ranged from midfield superstar to midfield pedestrian. Nine assists this season is but a glimpse into the immense talent of the French midfielder – as seen in his time at Juventus – but his style of play has also led to United’s play lacking cohesion and balance.

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Opposite him in midfield, Jordan Henderson will be given the task of marshaling his team physically by pulling the strings in midfield and psychologically as their captain. The ex-Sunderland man has had big boots to fill ever since replacing his ex-captain Steven Gerrard. There have been constantly murmurs that Henderson simply cannot measure up to the his predecessor and if there is a stage to quell those doubts it will be against his team’s bitterest rivals.

Romelu Lukaku vs Virgil van Dijk

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Since the moment news broke of his record-breaking move to Merseyside and thrust him into the limelight, Virgil van Dijk has hardly left the public eye. Billed as the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes, the Dutchman’s has transited into the Liverpool team with little difficulty. His commanding presence has raised confidence levels among a backline too often accused of withering in the face of tough opponents. Even the much maligned Dejan Lovren has looked solid when playing alongside the Dutch defender.

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Similar to Van Dijk, 24 year old Romelu Lukaku has been ever-present in the media eye since his move from Everton in the summer. While his tally of 14 strikes in the league is respectable, the towering Belgian striker has often been lambasted for his “disappearance” in big games. However, those who watched his performance against Chelsea recently will tell a different story. The powerful Belgian forward was a direct influence on the game, displaying great hunger and energy as he held up the ball and chased down marauding passes.

In Van Dijk, Lukaku will face a formidable opponent who can match him in physical presence and it will be another stern test for the Belgian to prove that he is a top-class player capable of delivering when it most matters.

Jurgen Klopp vs Jose Mourinho

The philosopher versus the pragmatist.

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Manchester United against Liverpool will see two footballing colossus who could not be more different in their approaches with their teams go head to head once again.
On paper this clash has been guaranteed to be a pulsating affair but their last three meetings have been anything but exciting (0-0, 1-1, 0-0).

Jurgen Klopp has long been held in reverence for playing football with a swagger, his gegenpressing garnering plaudits with Borussia Dortmund and now Liverpool.

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Jose Mourinho needs little introduction given his often notorious reputation with the media and his glittering trophy haul being one of the most successful managers in modern football. Probably the most loved as well as the most hated Premier League manager, his pragmatic style when coming up against major opposition has drew flak from many outlets, with “parking the bus” and “anti-football” among the many labels he has been awarded. Expect a feisty touch-line with those two standing guard alongside their respective teams.

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