Red Devils or Reds for the Big 1?

Individual brilliance of Paul Pogba and magic of Marcus Rashford up front

The rebirth of Pogba under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Manchester United a force to be reckoned with.

He has become an imperious figure in a rejuvenated United side that is playing with a lot of freedom. Pogba creates and score goals. He is also doing it in big matches, and consistently. Pogba will be a major threat to Liverpool.

The likes of Naby Keita, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson will have to be at their best to keep Pogba quiet.

If he is in the game, then Rashford will always cause havoc for Liverpool’s defence. He is lethal and on form these days. But if you want to keep him quiet, close the supply.

Big temperament of David De Gea

De Gea has been chosen as United Player of the Season three times in the past four years. He has saved the Red Devils in difficult situations on many occasions. He has won them games with his saves.

De Gea is United’s pillar of strength at the back. He will be key in keeping the Reds attacking trio of Saido Mane, Mohamed Salah and Fermino at bay.

Man United defence was exposed against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.

They lack pace and that’s why De Gea is important for the Red Devils. He will also be needed today.

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David de Gea has always been an integral for Manchester United. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Winning the midfield battle and silencing the menacing trio:

The attacking trio of Mane, Salah and Fermino is very devastating and lethal. On their day they are difficult to stop.

They are Liverpool’s source of inspiration. But they need supply in order to cause problems for opposition defences.

If you want to keep them quiet, you must ensure you close the supply in the middle of the park and don’t allow the likes of Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson to storm forward from the flanks.

Liverpool use various ways to penetrate the opposition. They can penetrate through the middle using the pace of Salah and Mane. They can also use width and allow the full backs to storm forward and deliver those quality balls into the box.

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Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have been a great pairing on attack. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

High pressing game

Liverpool love to build from the back but they do panic if you put them under pressure.

There were a few occasions on Tuesday against Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League where they committed mistakes trying to build from the back.

It was the result of pressure and high-pressing tactic that Bayern used to force those mistakes.

The Red Devils must also apply the same strategy. Press them high. Force them to play long balls.

Pogba and Nemenja Matic can win those long balls in the middle of the park with their height.

Liverpool’s poor form against top sides away from home

United haven’t lost when they have scored first under the tenure of Solskjaer. They have won all the games where they have scored first since Solskjaer took over the reins from Jose Mourinho.

So, they need to put pressure on Liverpool by scoring first and see how they respond.

Liverpool have struggled against top sides away from home this season. They have lost against Manchester City (in the league) at the Etihad Stadium, PSG (Uefa Champions League) and Napoli (Uefa Champions League).

They also shared the spoils with Chelsea and Arsenal on the road.

That should give United more hopes that they can get a positive result this afternoon.


Independent on Saturday

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