Liverpool will face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday night, and this is an important match for the Reds. Not only are United rivals and second in the league, but the Reds need to keep getting results to guarantee European football next season. Further, while their top-four hopes seem impossible, the Reds must keep fighting as hard as possible until the end.
United just played on Tuesday night in what can only be described as a seriously unfair situation created by the Premier League, which, as Jurgen Klopp has said even in United’s defense this week, has utterly failed to protect players from burnout and injuries.
Let’s take a look at three individual battles that could decide this tight affair in Manchester.
Liverpool LW Sadio Mane vs. Manchester United RB Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Much has been written about Sadio Mane’s poor form this season, especially in recent months. The Senegalese superstar has himself stated that this is the worst season of his career, which is a sobering and saddening admission.
But Mane is still a world-class player, in-form or not. Liverpool need him to keep trying his hardest on both ends of the pitch, especially when it comes to creating for teammates. Mane only has five assists, but he still does good work in terms of carrying the ball and drawing fouls.
He’ll be going up against one of the best one-on-one defenders in the world in Manchester United right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. For anyone who enjoys watching a good winger vs. fullback matchup, this should be a treat. Wan-Bissaka remains highly effective this season with 2.7 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game, according to WhoScored.com.