After parting in an exciting draw a week before, the two rivals meet for yet another shock in the FA Cup 4th round and there is great reason to believe Manchester United can beat Liverpool this time around. Why ?
The Reds are going through a strong period of turbulence, evidenced by the rout at home against Burnley (1-0) this week. A defeat that puts an end to the symbolic record of Liverpool, unbeaten in 68 games at Anfield and more beaten in his garden since April 2017. Anything but trivial.
Klopp’s men have won it only once in their last 6 matches in all competitions and, beyond the numbers, display a friability never felt for two years putting them within the reach of any team.
Main responsible for this striking stop, the offensive trio of the Reds which clearly does not work as well as before. After having panicked the statistics during the two previous seasons, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino display a complementarity and a declining efficiency. Liverpool’s offensive trident remains on a streak of 87 shots without scoring. A stat that can be applied to the level of the team which has only one goal scored in its last 3 matches.
Long criticized for their excitement in the defensive field, the Mancuniens seem to have found the remedy and have conceded only one goal in their last 4 matches. Associated with Lindelof or Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire finally gives the impression of having taken the measure of his role as boss and this is reflected in the figures, of course, but also in the overall feeling of assurance that Manchester United diffuses in the start of 2021.
The Red Devils should already have been taking advantage of their rivals’ current poor form in the Premier League on January 17. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had the best chances of an enticing 0-0 without ever converting their chances. In the event of an identical scenario, not sure that Liverpool resists a second time this week the assaults of the Mancunian attackers.
Symbol of this lack of efficiency of the Red Devils during the last shock confrontation between the two teams, Bruno Fernandes missed his match by showing himself abnormally imprecise in the last 30 meters. A fact rare enough to be underlined and which should certainly not happen a second time for the Lisbon maestro who has accustomed us to leave his mark on the rise of Manchester United on the front of the English stage.
However, the real weapon of the Red Devils is not called Bruno Fernandes if not Paul Pogba this Sunday. Back at his best, the French international is in full rebirth and has just sealed the last two successes of his team with two goals as splendid as they are saving.
While the game promises to be once again intense and possibly indecisive, the Manchester United midfielder could once again tip the scales in his side by once again taking out of his pocket a marvel to which he has re-accustomed us .