Liverpool will be desperate to end a three-match losing streak against arch rivals Manchester United when they meet on Sunday, with both sides coming into it off the back of six-goal thrillers in midweek.
The opening half hour against leaders Arsenal saw the Reds play close to their best, with their high pressing resulting in a dominance of possession, which they used to play high-tempo attacking football. Roberto Firmino stepped up to the mark with a terrific brace as he finally gave a clear indication of why the club splashed out £29m to bring him to Anfield in the summer, while the tenacity of James Milner was central to the retention of attacking momentum.
But despite playing so well and having almost all of the play, Liverpool somehow found themselves pegged back to 2-2 inside 25 minutes as their set-piece frailties were again shown up, and when they fell behind in the second half it appeared that the game would slip away, but the pressure eventually told as Joe Allen snatched a deserved late leveller. If they can produce a similar kind of performance here while cutting out the defensive – and indeed goalkeeping – mistakes, Jurgen Klopp’s side will have a great chance of winning this.
In contrast, Man Utd were the victims of a 90th minute equaliser last time out as Paul Dummett’s late strike for Newcastle United made them pay for passing up a succession of clear chances to put the game beyond doubt, leading to manager Louis van Gaal showing rare bursts of agitation in the coaching area. The top performer on the night was Wayne Rooney, who helped himself to two goals and an assist, but the draw was very much two points dropped.
On the positive side they did not fall further behind the Champions League places, but in order to seriously threaten fourth-placed Tottenham the Red Devils really need to put a run of results together. It was a much more dynamic showing on Tyneside compared to many in recent weeks, but it will be interesting to see how van Gaal sets his team up here in what is always one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of a Premier League season, regardless of the respective league positions of the two clubs.
The are no new injury problems for Liverpool, but they are still without defender Dejan Lovren and striker Daniel Sturridge among others. Christian Benteke could earn a recall.
Phil Jones is edging closer to fitness for Man Utd but remains out here along with midfield duo Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Last Meeting: A brace from Juan Mata gave United a fine win at Anfield in March 2015 in what was one of their best performances of last season. In the ascendancy from the start, the visitors led when an excellent passing move eventually found Mata who finished hard and low, and the second arrived in spectacular fashion when the Spaniard acrobatically finished from Angel Di Maria’s chipped cross.
Daniel Sturridge slammed in a shot for the Reds, who had seen captain Steven Gerrard sent off for a stamp on Ander Herrera less than a minute after coming on as a half-time substitute. Man Utd held on to their 2-1 lead despite Wayne Rooney’s late penalty being saved by Simon Mignolet.