Manchester United came into this weekend’s blockbuster clash against Liverpool on a high, having somewhat recovered their poise by beating Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge after the 2-0 home reverse to PSG in the Champions League. Their rivals from down the M62 were a little more circumspect, only managing a goalless draw at home to Bayern Munich in their own Champions League assignment.
Nevertheless, this was an opportunity for Liverpool to lay down a marker; win this game and they would go three points clear of Manchester City, while also denting the confidence of their biggest rivals. United had similar ambitions of securing their top-four spot while damaging Liverpool’s title credentials. All these storylines made Sunday’s game the most anticipated between these two in a long time, and while the game itself was not much of a spectacle, there were compelling narratives to take away from Old Trafford.
Nemanja Matic had picked up a muscle injury in training during the week, which meant that Scott McTominay deputised for him. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked Juan Mata at the tip of United’s midfield diamond, as Jesse Lingard was only fit enough for the bench. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku started as the two split strikers.
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