(Football news) Every summer, when the fixture list is finally released, Manchester United and Liverpool fans immediately circle the dates of what one can only be described as the most fierce rivalry in top flight English football. A clash between Manchester United and Liverpool goes beyond sport, it’s personal and the hosting stadium makes it known to the visiting side that it’s gonna be a tough 90 minutes ahead. This fixture isn’t about three points, it’s about pride and history between the two most successful football clubs in England.
This Sunday, Liverpool will visit Manchester United at Old Trafford, cautiously optimistic of taking all three points from their bitter rivals. In fixtures like these, form goes out of the window as the sheer passion, desire and pride take precedence in who will emerge victorious. However, it's fair to say that Jurgen Klopp’s team will be favourites heading into Manchester with Liverpool being unbeaten in 18 games in the league, the longest current run in top four tiers of English football (13 wins and five draws). Liverpool’s formidable attack has scored at least three goals in each of their last five Premier League appearances with only Manchester United having a longer run of six last season.
For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, the side are currently struggling with their defensive responsibilities and are without a clean sheet in their last nine home games, their longest run since September 1970 to February 1971. Their form isn’t too promising either with eight points from seven league matches (2 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats). Raphael Varane continues to be sidelined with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof expected to be the centre-back partnership. Solskjaer will also ensure Fred and McTominay will be a part of their starting XI despite Man Utd’s midfield woes as the pair provide a greater balance in the Norwegian’s eyes than any other combination.
At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal will take on Aston Villa at 12:30 am IST on 23rd October. It remains to be seen if Mikel Arteta recalls Alexandre Lacazette into the starting XI after his late goal against Crystal Palace. Bukayo Saka remains a doubt for the Gunners after the winger was forced off at half time against Crystal Palace with a calf injury. Granit Xhaka is the only certain absentee in Arsenal’s squad as he is recovering from a knee injury while Aston Villa have Matty Cash, Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore available for selection.
Chelsea currently have a crisis in their attacking lineup as both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are injured after the Champions League clash against Malmo. With Christian Pulisic still recovering from an ankle injury, Thomas Tuchel only has Kai Havertz as an option up front with Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount a part of the front three. The Blues have a nearly full strength squad at the other areas of the pitch and despite the injury concerns, Norwich are currently at the bottom of the Premier League with no wins. Anything less than three points for Chelsea would be considered a massive upset.
Manchester City will be confident while travelling to Brighton for their upcoming Premier League clash. Pep Guardiola’s team scored five past Club Brugge in the Champions League and won 2-0 against Burnley last weekend. While a match between Manchester City and Brighton may appear a mismatch on paper, Graham Potter’s team has had an impressive start in the domestic campaign and are only one place and two points behind the champions of England. Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are available for selection after being away on international duty last week. Kyle Walker is also expected to return while Rodri will accompany Silva and De Bruyne in midfield. Raheem Sterling might be dropped after the England international failed to make use of his opportunity against Burnley with a front three consisting of Foden, Grealish and Jesus.