Liverpool vs. Man United: 10 key things to know as 57,000

For the first time in four games, Liverpool are back at Anfield and it does not get much bigger than the visit of Man United, who are certainly feeling the pressure.

Liverpool vs. Man United

Premier League (17) | Anfield
December 17, 2023 | 4.30pm (GMT)


After three away trips on the spin across three competitions, it’s back to home comforts for Jurgen Klopp‘s men, and a win on Sunday will ensure they retain their place at the top of the table.

While the praises are being sung for Liverpool 2.0, it is a different story at Old Trafford as poor results and performances continue to stack up.

Fixtures like this, though, always offer a clean slate and the Reds have to be ready.

Here are 10 things you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Man United.

 

1. 57K at Anfield!

Liverpool will host the biggest Anfield crowd since 1977 on Sunday after they were given the green light to partially open the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand.

After a successful test event and the granting of a safety certificate over the last week, an extra 7,000 supporters will be allowed to attend to take capacity to 57,000.

While not all seats will be filled, it’s going to be some sight! We couldn’t have asked for a better game for more fans to be in the stands.

 

2. No ‘new’ injuries

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 13, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Klopp rightly left Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah on Merseyside while others travelled to face Union SG on Thursday.

Kostas Tsimikas, Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Diaz all travelled but stayed on the bench, while the use of all five substitutions in Belgium helped limit the total minutes played.

And the big positive from the match was that the manager reported “nobody got hurt,” meaning no further absences are expected.

Alexis Mac Allister has already been ruled out, with Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson, Thiago, Stefan Bajcetic and Joel Matip all still in the treatment room with respective injuries.

 

3. 10 players missing for United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 26, 2023: Manchester United's captain Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Nottingham Forest FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By that heading we don’t just mean performance-wise, we mean injuries and suspension.

Erik ten Hag will be without at least 10 players for the trip to Liverpool, with Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Amad Diallo, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Tyrell Malacia and Mason Mount all absent.

Victor Lindelof remains a doubt having only returned to training earlier in the week, but Ten Hag confirmed he will be able to call upon Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford.

A depleted squad it is for the visitors.

Recent form

  • Liverpool last 5 (L-R): L W W W W
  • Man United: L L W L D

Possible United XI: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Dalot; Mainoo, Amrabat; Rashford, McTominay, Garnacho; Hojlund

 

4. Liverpool’s XI straightforward?

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield on December 03, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

With a handful of players rested for the final Europa League group game and others playing a full 90 minutes, we were handed a pretty big hint regarding Sunday’s team selection.

Alisson, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold and Salah will all come back into the fold, as will Tsimikas, Szoboszlai and Diaz.

With Curtis Jones playing the full 90 minutes in Belgium we can assume Gravenberch will get the nod on the left of midfield, with Wataru Endo deployed as the No. 6.

While unlikely, we would not be too surprised if Klopp opted to push Alexander-Arnold into midfield and named Joe Gomez at right-back.

Predicted Reds XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch; Salah, Diaz, Nunez

 

5. Need we remind you of last time…

Look, Liverpool fans know more than most not to assume anything from this fixture – irrespective of form – but we still take quite a lot of enjoyment from the 7-0 drubbing last time out.

Klopp was right to call it a “freak result,” and the likelihood of ever seeing that again is unlikely in our lifetime, so it’s best that we milk it for all it is worth.

The 7-0 result was Liverpool’s fourth win from five games against United at Anfield, across those matches the aggregate score is 16-1 in favour of the Reds.

 

6. A new club record on the line

2TAX94Y Liverpool, UK. 03rd Dec, 2023. Trent Alexander-Arnold #66 of Liverpool celebrates his goal to make it 4-3 during the Premier League match Liverpool vs Fulham at Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 3rd December 2023 (Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images) Credit: News Images LTD/Alamy Live News

Liverpool have, incredibly, scored in 34 consecutive matches in all competitions and another against Man United will take it to 35 and set a new club record.

The current record was set not too long ago, with Klopp’s men maintaining the streak in 2021, from April to December.

This particular run of games with goals started in April in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal, but let’s hope this one extends long into the new year!

 

7. Tough test ahead for Liverpool 2.0

The manager knows his team have not reached their peak just yet and that Liverpool 2.0 will be given an important test in their first festive period together:

“When you have a new group together – and it is a new group – it’s always clear that it needs time to find some stability. That’s what we lacked in moments, that’s the truth.

“But in the end, so far, it worked out somehow, and we have to make sure we keep improving even in the most difficult moments.

“This group, we never had a December together and the December in English football is the toughest month ever. That’s why we have to show now how far we are [along] with that.”

 

8. Mo to score, you can bet on it

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal, his 200th in English football, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salah on the scoresheet feels inevitable in most games, especially against United.

The Egyptian has score more goals against United than any other player in Liverpool’s history, with 12 in 12 outings – it’s the most he has against any team in his career.

And, in fact, he has scored in each of the last six games against the old foe in all competitions, with 11 in that run. He’s unstoppable.

More of that please, Mo!

 

9. Touchline ref returns after controversy

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) is shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver after celebrating with supporters after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Michael Oliver is the man in the middle for this fixture, he has overseen this match four different times – all have been at Old Trafford.

But the intrigue actually lies on the touchline as Dan Cook returns for a Liverpool match for the first time since his role in disallowing Luis Diaz‘s goal at Tottenham.

Cook was the assistant VAR for that clash and we all know the details of the farce that took place on that day, so let’s hope for no controversy this time around!

As for the VAR on Sunday, John Brooks is the lead with Simon Long acting as his assistant.

 

10. Follow the match live with us!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 6, 2023: Television cameras before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. General. TV. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Man United will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event in the UK, with kick-off at 4.30pm (GMT).

As always, though, This Is Anfield are here to provide live updates before and during the match with our liveblog, which will get underway from 3.45pm.

Into these, Reds!

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