Before the big clash of the Premier League weekend, all the pre-match rumors concern Manchester United’s lack of form and Liverpool’s excellent away record.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has not won in the Premier League since 19 September, while Jurgen Klopp’s team has scored three or more goals in eight consecutive away games.
So how can United surprise and surprise Liverpool at Old Trafford? Sportsmail take a tactical look at what Solskjaer should do well at night.
Manchester United host Liverpool on Sunday with all the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The Reds beat United at Old Trafford in May, but haven’t won there with fans since 2014
DE GEA SHOULD BE AT HIS BEST
The Spaniard will once again be a busy boy.
Manchester United have kept just a clean sheet in the last 20 games, but that doesn’t tell the story of David de Gea’s form, which has largely been excellent.
A series of vital saves kept United in the game on Wednesday against Atalanta, while their last Premier League win, against West Ham, was due to De Gea’s stoppage time penalty from Mark Noble.
After doubts last season about his position with Dean Henderson waiting behind the scenes, De Gea has maintained a firm grip on the No. 1 jersey this season as one of Solskjaer’s standout constants.
What would the United manager give for another high-level performance by the 30-year-old, who was not in goal when Liverpool gave United four goals in May?
David de Gea has been one of Solskjaer’s trusted artists and must have another good day
Cristiano Ronaldo was well aware of the importance of De Gea after the victory against Atalanta
DOUBLE IN MOHAMED SALAH
Even that might not be enough, frankly.
But it’s the least United should do. Mohamed Salah is arguably the best player on the planet right now and has now scored in nine straight games, a club record.
On Sunday, it will be Luke Shaw’s predominant job to stop the Egyptian on United’s left side. However, you will need help, from all angles.
A central midfielder, probably Fred, needs to cover that inside option that Salah favors so much, while the player ahead of Shaw, who will be Marcus Rashford, needs to step back to cover the Trent Alexander-Arnold overlap, who so often acts. a decoy for Salah to work his magic.
Preferably United should kick Salah out of the game – strength in numbers. But the least they have to do is duplicate. If not, Liverpool’s main man could have another field day.
Luke Shaw will be tasked with stopping Mohamed Salah, but he needs help from those around him
TAKE OWNERSHIP OF SET-PIECES
It’s a big deal for United right now – Virgil van Dijk will lick his lips.
They conceded two set pieces goals against Leicester last Saturday and again Wednesday against Atalanta, and all three goals were highly avoidable.
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof must take over here. As opposed to just staying with your man, it should be your responsibility to deal with the incoming crosses.
De Gea can also help, where appropriate. And when the ball re-enters a second phase of the game, the whole team must be aware of the danger; Too often, too many players watch the ball and are unprepared for what lies ahead.
Liverpool haven’t been very profitable with set pieces this season, but they have threats. If it’s not Van Dijk, it’s Joel Matip. If not Matip, Roberto Firmino. United should not give away another cheap goal.
United conceded cheaply on set piece against Atlanta after previous misses at Leicester
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof must take possession of dead ball situations Sunday
START POGBA IN MIDFIELD
Listen to the words of Arsene Wenger, Ole.
The former Arsenal manager said after Wednesday’s comeback win: ‘Pogba, I thought, did well. Pogba gave them more power from deep in midfield by creating more dangerous balls.
And when Pogba came in, Fernandes got better. Fernandes had a poor first half, but in the second he also came to life ”.
And regarding Fred’s contribution, Wenger added: ‘I would personally highlight the second half for Fred.
“Fred saved some crosses in the area, outstanding defensively and worked incredibly hard in the second half.”
So, let’s listen to the French. Start the three in the center of midfield, with Fred deeper.
They will have to work tirelessly (that includes you, Paul!) To match Liverpool’s pace of work, but the quality and finesse of all three could lead to some key starts at Old Trafford.
Arsene Wenger was impressed by Paul Pogba’s role in United’s win over Atalanta
The Frenchman should start alongside Fred (D) and Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
TURN THE WINGS AFTER 60 MINUTES
Blessed with options in this department, Solskjaer must use his wide men wisely.
Because they will work hard. One of Liverpool’s key attacking components is the use of Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to maintain width and provide crosses.
So whoever starts Solskjaer, probably Rashford and Mason Greenwood, they have to work on the ground. Do your dirty work, go back.
So Solskjaer can mix it up. You can bring in the £ 73 million man Jadon Sancho, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard or even maybe Donny van de Beek, remember?
Use the equipment and get as many meters from your players as possible.
Marcus Rashford is likely to play from the left and will have to do his dirty work and back off
Mason Greenwood needs to work hard from the right, with star quality available to replace him
BELIEF IN SELF
Despite all of Liverpool’s impressive feats in recent years under Klopp, Old Trafford has tended not to be a happy hunting ground.
May’s win was Klopp’s first at the Theater of Dreams and the first win in nine games there.
Typically, the Reds struggle to assert their usual patterns of play at United. The games have also sold out. Solskjaer must use this psychological advantage to his advantage.
On paper, the teams are very even. So despite all the talk, United have a decent chance at Old Trafford.
They also have one of the biggest scorers in football history up front, assuming the Norwegian starts with Ronaldo, the biggest asset of all.
Solskjaer needs his side to stand up and be counted. Falling nine points behind Liverpool, at this early stage, would put even more pressure on their shoulders.
United, and Rashford, have had previous successes at Old Trafford against their fierce rivals