English Premiership

Man United look to exploit Liverpool wobble

2017-01-15 12:00
Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)

Manchester - Jose Mourinho's resurgent Manchester United will attempt to reel in arch rivals Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp's faltering side visit Old Trafford in Sunday's Premier League headline clash.

United have won their last nine games in all competitions -- their best run since an 11-match winning streak in early 2009 -- while Liverpool are still to win a game in 2017.

Mourinho's men needed an ultra-defensive performance to secure a 0-0 draw at Anfield when the teams last met in October, but three months on, his team are now firing on all cylinders.

"Because the results are better, that changes a lot of things," the United manager said.

"You know, at that time I had less time of working together with my players. Now I have a little bit more.

"We know each other better, we have a certain way of thinking football, we have a certain way to play football.

"We don't just have good performances, we have also the happiness of the good results."

United's trip to Anfield fell during a troubling sequence that saw them win just twice in 11 league outings.

But although they have sat in sixth place for over two months, they have closed to within five points of Liverpool, who slipped to fourth after Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal overtook them on Saturday.

A key factor in United's revival has been the improved form of record signing Paul Pogba, who has seemed liberated since Michael Carrick was brought into the team to anchor the midfield.

The France midfielder has scored three goals and supplied three assists in his last 10 games and credits Mourinho with giving him the freedom to play his natural game.

"He said, 'You know how to play, do what you want,'" Pogba told the BBC. "He let me free on the pitch.

"He told me just to enjoy myself. That is it. That is all I need to hear from the manager."

Wayne Rooney would love to score the 250th goal he needs to surpass Bobby Charlton as United's outright record scorer against Liverpool, but having started the last two games, he may drop to the bench.

Mourinho hopes to have 18-goal top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic back after he missed Tuesday's 2-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull City through illness.

Marcos Rojo, who missed that game with a muscle strain, is also due to be assessed, but fellow defender Eric Bailly is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast.

Liverpool established their credentials as leaders Chelsea's closest rivals by beating Manchester City 1-0 on New Year's Eve, only to then be held to a 2-2 draw at struggling Sunderland.

They followed it up by drawing 0-0 against fourth-tier minnows Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup and then losing 1-0 at Southampton in their own League Cup semi-final first leg.

Klopp conceded his side were fortunate not to have lost more heavily at St Mary's, but he is confident they will rise to the occasion on Sunday.

"I hear it in your questions, I hear it when I talk to different people," he told his pre-game press conference.

"Because of our last game it is like, 'Oh my God, and now it is Man United.' But give me 11 players and we will be competitive.

"I know how they (players) react to not-that-good performances. It is not about being confident before the game.

"It is about getting confidence in the game with the right kind of movements, right kind of defending.

"They (United) are better, more used to each other (than in October). They are more confident. It is a different side."

Klopp has been lifted by the return to fitness of Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who returned from an ankle problem at Southampton.

Captain Jordan Henderson (heel) and centre-back Joel Matip (ankle) could feature after returning to training, but Sadio Mane is at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 29 September 2018
West Ham United v Manchester United, London Stadium 13:30
Arsenal v Watford, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Everton v Fulham, Goodison Park 16:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton, Molineux Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Leicester City, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Liverpool, Stamford Bridge 18:30
Sunday, 30 September 2018
Cardiff City v Burnley, Cardiff City Stadium 17:00
Monday, 01 October 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace, Vitality Stadium 21:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.