Manchester United vs Liverpool preview: Reds look to inflict more misery on greatest rivals
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool seek their first win at Old Trafford since 2014 on Sunday as archrivals Manchester United attempt to bounce back from their poor start to the campaign.

The two most successful clubs in England clash heads for the first time this season, with Ole-Gunnar Solksjaer in the dugout for just the third time in his managerial career against the Reds.

United currently find themselves just four places above the relegation zone after eight games whereas Liverpool have maintained a 100% record in the league and are setting the pace at the top of the table with 24 points out of a possible 24.

Form is often disregarded when the pair come together, however. The Reds have only won three times away to the Red Devils in 16 years. Jurgen Klopp will pursue his first win at Old Trafford in his career - a win would assert Liverpool's dominance at the top of the Premier League.

The managers

Reds boss Klopp has recently been vocal about how excited he is to face their rivals, but has downplayed the assumption that there is a gulf in class heading into the fixture.

He said: “History in this case is not really important but it gives you for sure a little sign because we like to create and use atmosphere in our stadium, in Anfield, which is incredibly helpful, but Old Trafford is not too bad as well in that department so I’m sure they are all on their toes already, they wait for us."

When questioned about the expectations of the game, he responded: “I’m not influenced by it, to be honest.

“I’m 100 percent aware of the strength of Manchester United, I expect their best possible line-up.

“We have to be very, very lively, we have to be emotional as much as allowed, we have to be fluent, we have to be very clear in a lot of moments and we have to respect their strength – and that’s what we do."

Solksjaer's United side have been under heaps of scrutiny lately after a woeful start to the season which has seen them win just two of their opening eight games in the league, most recently falling short at St James' Park where Newcastle United won 1-0 thanks to debutant Matty Longstaff's strike late on.

Ahead of Sunday, Solksjaer has expressed his desire to create more goalscoring opportunities, something that he thinks they have lacked over the past few months.

He insisted: "Of course, it's about results and [to] start winning games and start scoring goals, which is the main thing.

“We need to create more chances because, at the back, I think we've looked solid, but we haven't been adventurous enough, taking enough risks."

Quizzed on the importance of the fixture in relation to United's current form, he said: "It's always been a big fixture.

“It's a game that's going to be watched by so many and, when you sign for Man United, this is the first one you look forward to every year when the fixture list comes out, because you're at home against one of your main rivals."

Solksjaer has fond memories against their bitter rivals, most notably scoring the winner in the 1999 FA Cup fourth round against the Reds which is widely regarded as a key moment in United's treble-winning season that year.

He expressed: “It's a chance for them (the players) to, as I did a couple times, get in the history books, because if you score a winner against Liverpool, that's always going to be there with them.”

Team news

Liverpool have received some good news in relation to Alisson, Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah's recoveries from injury, although Klopp has admitted he is still unsure about the trio's availability for Sunday.

Alisson's hopes of returning from a lengthy injury were given a boost as he returned to full training this week,  whilst Matip has resumed training after a slight knock which kept him out of the Reds' wins over RB Salzburg and Leicester before the international break.

Salah was on the receiving end of a foul by Hamza Choudhury against the Foxes two weeks ago and will need to be assessed before they head to Manchester.

“Better - how good, we have to see, that’s the truth,” Klopp said about the three in his press conference on Friday.

“The players on international duty all came back healthy too, which is very, very important, so we now had three or four days with the full squad to prepare."

Alternatively, United's injury woes could see a number of players unavailable at the weekend, with David de Gea unlikely to be between the sticks at Old Trafford. 

Solksjaer confessed: “I don’t expect [de Gea] to play but it wasn’t as bad as feared.

“When I saw the game I thought 'that’s him out until next international break' because we’ve had some long-term muscle injuries, but it’s not as bad."

Paul Pogba is likely to miss out too, with Sunday potentially too early to see his return after an ankle injury the Frenchman recently sustained.

“Of course I would like to tell you positive news." Solksjaer said.

“Hopefully we’ll see on Sunday who’s come through the last two sessions as well, because there are players here that just started training, just on the verge of coming back or not, so I can’t really say.”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka could return to the squad after suffering from illness, whilst Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw are both doubts with thigh injuries.

Diego Dalot is yet to return from a thigh injury, and whilst Mason Greenwood put pen to paper on a new four-year deal on Friday he is also a doubt with a back injury.

Anthony Martial, who famously scored on his debut against Liverpool in a 3-1 win back in 2015, could be set to play a part for Solksjaer as he returns from a thigh injury.

Predicted Line-Ups

Man Utd: Romero; Young, Lindelöf, Maguire, Tuanzebe; McTominay, Pereira; James, Mata, Martial; Rashford (4-2-3-1)

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Origi, Firmino, Mane (4-3-3)

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