Liverpool vs. Manchester United: A Tactical Breakdown

Liverpool and Manchester United have distinct play styles that should make for a cracker of a game on Sunday.
Manchester United v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
Manchester United v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Liverpool shape up to play fierce rival Manchester United on Sunday in a critical fixture, marking the second time the teams have played each other in the Premier League this season.

The first game ended in a bitter 0-0 draw on December 17th, so each team will surely be making some tactical changes ahead of the game tomorrow to give themselves the edge

Klopp typically plays a standard 4-3-3, utilizing high pressing wing-backs and one defensive midfielder paired with two center mids.

This formation allows for the players to quickly build up play out wide, going from fullbacks to wingers in the blink of an eye. However, our wingers at the top (typically Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz) have been seen cutting inside to take the role of an inverted winger, creating space out wide for our fullbacks to push into that space and look for crossing options.

Those crossing opportunities have helped lead Andy Robertson to 59 assists and Trent Alexander Arnold to 58 assists in the Premier League, with most coming from whipped crosses into the middle on attack. 

The relentless pressure from every Liverpool player is a trademark of the Klopp system and if they are in sync on the high-press, it could cause some uncomfortable moments for a much weakened United defense.

As for Manchester United, they favor a 4-2-3-1 approach, with two central defensive midfielders and one attacking midfielder paired with wingers on either side.

United have been seeing a boost in their wing play through Alejandro Garnacho, who has been stunning this season netting a total of 7 goals in just 28 matches in the Premier League.

Manager Erik Ten Hag favors a holding midfield, emphasizing patient build up with short passing into the final third. Much of their game relies on small passing up the middle of the pitch.

As for the clash om Sunday, you can expect to see some high-quality football being played from both sides, although I predict a 3-2 Liverpool victory.

Klopp’s width may prove to be too much for the United fullbacks Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who will have to take on Salah and Diaz in one-on-one scenarios on the wing, which both players excel at.

A great option for the defensive midfield role for Liverpool tomorrow is Wataru Endo, who has consistently proven to be a rock in the midfield, and very tough to get past. His ability to break up play via interceptions and strong tackles are vital to getting Liverpool out on the break in tight situations.

With all things considered, it should be fascinating to see how the two sides set themselves up tactically from the beginning.