Liverpool won’t deserve to win the Premier League if they can’t beat mediocre Manchester United

The Reds have been unsuccessful in defeating their despised adversaries on two occasions this season, but it is imperative for them to emerge victorious at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, was in a disgruntled state after the FA Cup quarter-final loss to Manchester United last month. The Reds suffered a defeat in a derby during injury time at the conclusion of extra time, a match they were expected to win within the regular time frame. Klopp, not surprisingly, vented his fury towards a journalist who simply observed that his players were lacking their typical unwavering energy.

Klopp, being astute, also recognized the obvious. “That was the initial occasion where I truly witnessed my team encountering difficulties,” he said thereafter. “However, that is the current situation – we have recently engaged in a substantial amount of football.”

Not surprisingly, Klopp made a joke before Sunday’s important Premier League match at Old Trafford, stating that the one positive thing for him is that there won’t be any extra time. Several of his players appear fatigued at present.

The lackluster performance exhibited by Liverpool on Thursday against Sheffield United only served to heighten the worry that the combination of injuries and a crowded schedule may be gradually affecting the team. There is a clear apprehension among the fans that exhaustion may once again impede the Reds’ aspirations of defeating a despised opponent they have already been unsuccessful in defeating twice this season.

However, it is important to acknowledge that there are no justifications or explanations available on this occasion. Despite their fatigue, Liverpool should have little trouble defeating the average Manchester United team.

Klopp has been naturally eager to emphasize the danger presented by United. Despite their impressive qualities, Liverpool have acquired an unfortunate tendency to commence matches with a lack of pace and intensity. Due to their exceptional ability to bounce back, they typically reverse the situation.

Liverpool has accumulated 26 points in the current Premier League season after being in losing positions. This achievement puts them among the top three teams in history with the most points won from losing positions in a single campaign. They came close to making a comeback in the cup battle at Old Trafford as well, but on that occasion, they actually allowed United to mount a crucial counterattack.

Klopp, therefore, is not assuming anything. “United is a formidable team that plays exceptionally well when they are at their home stadium, a fact that is widely recognized.” Therefore, it is not sufficient to just suggest replicating the actions taken between the 15th and 70th minute in the quarter-final match. “Football is not straightforward,” the German stated. “To achieve success in this match against our formidable opponent in this stadium, we must perform exceptionally well and play a high-quality game of football.”

It is prudent for Klopp to exercise caution, without a doubt. United may be a formidable threat when playing at home. Surprisingly, Erik ten Hag boasts a higher win percentage at Old Trafford (71.7) compared to the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson (71.2). Although the sample size is lower, it is important to remember that United’s home form last season played a significant role in their qualification for the Champions League.

Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford possess the ability to inflict damage on Liverpool’s defensive line, which has only managed to maintain a clean sheet in the league once since the latter part of January. Rashford, in particular, has a tendency to elevate his performance in these derbies, having scored a total of seven goals.

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that Ten Hag’s team currently possesses a high level of vulnerability, making them one of the most delicate teams in England. On Thursday night, they succumbed to the pressure and failed to perform against Chelsea’s highly expensive and underachieving players.

Falsehoods, deceptive falsehoods, and numerical data…
Ten Hag has disregarded the importance of the statistics, acknowledging that they may sometimes be deceptive, and highlighted that this season only the top three teams in the Premier League (Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City) have allowed less goals.

Nevertheless, the formidable United defense that effectively neutralized Liverpool in a goalless draw at Anfield in December has deteriorated significantly since the beginning of the year. The Red Devils have encountered a greater number of shots than any other side in the year 2024, surpassing the total number of shots faced in any of their previous 20 Premier League seasons.

In addition, despite Ten Hag’s claims of having the fourth-strongest defense in the league, it is important to acknowledge that he is the first coach of Manchester United in the Premier League era to suffer 12 defeats in a single season – and there are still eight matches still to be played.

Therefore, this United team is historically poor, and Liverpool must decisively defeat them. They will possess that knowledge, naturally. Klopp and his most loyal players do not feel any apprehension while facing United. Liverpool have emerged victorious in six out of their previous 11 encounters with United, which includes a dominant 5-0 victory at Old Trafford in October 2021 and a resounding 7-0 triumph at Anfield last year. They have suffered only one defeat during this period.

Nevertheless, the tie that occurred just prior to Christmas really frustrated Liverpool, notably their captain Virgil van Dijk, who expressed his disappointment by stating, “We were superior in every aspect.” However, they did not display it on that particular day. Furthermore, they did not emphasize their superiority on their visit to Old Trafford last month.

Therefore, it is both a task and a duty for Liverpool to ultimately surpass United in their third encounter this season.

The legs of Liverpool players may be experiencing fatigue at the moment. On Thursday night, a team with almost all of its best players had to exert more effort than anticipated to defeat Sheffield United. Having a challenging match scheduled only three days later does not benefit them in any way, and they had a limited amount of time to prepare before their previous visit to Old Trafford. However, what sets this occasion apart is that United played a match on Thursday evening and will be significantly affected by a loss in the 101st minute, which almost eliminates their chances of finishing in the top five. It is Liverpool’s responsibility to entirely eliminate them.

However, the crucial aspect of Sunday’s game is the visitors’ ability to retain control over their own fate. It is crucial that the team currently in first place maintains their advantage over Manchester City and Arsenal this weekend.

Despite the challenging schedule that Klopp’s men still have ahead, a visit to Old Trafford should not be considered one of the difficult matchups. The injuries have severely weakened United’s defense, and the entire team seems to be experiencing a lack of confidence. Additionally, the manager appears to be completely lacking in ideas.

It would be unacceptable for a team that has won the most matches (16) and scored the most goals (59) in Europe in 2025 to lose more valuable points to such an opponent. This might potentially be disastrous for their chances of winning the title.

Liverpool has been unsuccessful in defeating both City and Arsenal this season. If they are unable to overcome this formidable iteration of Manchester United, they would truly not merit winning the league.

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