EPL Match of the Week: Manchester United v. Liverpool (GW 3)

One of the biggest rivalries in English football will be reignited this week as Liverpool head to Old Trafford to take on their historical rivals in Manchester United in this season’s first North West Derby.

Image Credit: Eurosport.com

To say the start of the season has been underwhelming for both teams is definitely the understatement of the year.

Starting with Liverpool, consecutive draws to Fulham and Crystal Palace leaves Jurgen Klopp’s men in 12th place after two games, and with Manchester City starting this season off in scintillating fashion, four dropped points to begin the season could ultimately be the deciding factor in the title race.

For United however, things have gone from bad to horrific in the span of six months for the Red Devils. Following the appointment of Erik Ten Hag, the promise the squad had in preseason has been lit up in flames following consecutive losses to Brighton and a humiliating 4-0 loss away to Brentford.

Liverpool will be without their newest transfer in Darwin Nuñez after he was given a red card during thier 1-1 draw against Palace on Monday after he appeared to headbutt Joachim Andersen in the 57th minute, likely leaving Roberto Firmino to play upfront for the Reds.

After an embarrassing loss to Brentford on Saturday, it will be a wonder to see how Erik Ten Hag will set his side up against normally potent offence from Liverpool and with defence still an issue for United, even after bringing in Lisandro Martinez from Ajax to pair with Harry Maguire, there are plenty of questions to be asked for many of the starting squad from the Brentford game.

The first major question will be in between the sticks as David De Gea was noticeably poor against Brentford and has not looked like the goalkeeper he once was a few years back, but with Tom Heaton as substitute goalkeeper, has De Gea’s play forced Ten Hag’s hand?

Another major question will be in the center of defence as Lisandro Martinez was hauled off at halftime for Raphael Varane, following Brentford’s four-goal first half display will the manager reinstall the faith in the young Argentine and be trusted with fending off attacks from Mohammed Salah and Luis Diaz.

As United are set to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid for upwards of £70 million, it is still unclear whether he will be available to play against Liverpool, and should he not the midfield presence of Scott McTominay and Fred have been objectively way below United’s standards who will be playing in the midfield?

Finally in attack, after weeks of speculation that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has requested a move away from Old Trafford and has been shopped around to different clubs to no avail, will the striker get a chance to start up top once again, even after a poor performance against Brentford.

For Liverpool, however, it may not seem as quite a walk in the park for them as once thought as injuries and suspensions have taken quite a dent on the first team.

Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate are all players ruled out and unavailable to play on Monday while Darwin Nunez will also serve the first of a two game suspension following his red card during the draw to Crystal Palace.

Key pieces on all parts of the team being out are also compounded by the lukewarm start to the season which has seen some of the starting squad put in less than stellar shifts.

The meeting against these two teams will be a pivotal one in how their seasons will progress and will surely be the toughest test either team has faced so far during this campaign.


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