What the papers say
• Reports Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has shown interest
Ed Woodward said the Glazers do not wish to sell Manchester United and the owners have received no offers for the club.
There are reports that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman would like to buy United, but the executive vice-chairman denied there had been any concrete bids.Continue reading...
By any objective measure, this had felt like an away banker during what was a high-octane build-up. Manchester United, mired in their worst start to a season since 1989-90, had been goal-shy; their confidence seemingly in pieces. Liverpool were supposed to roll up to Old Trafford and extend their 100 per cent Premier League to a record-equalling 18th game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the eternally optimistic United manager, had claimed that “this is the perfect game for us‚“ but, to put it bluntly, nobody believed him. Perhaps they should have done.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 4.30pm BST kick-off
- Man Utd’s recruitment has been dysfunctional, says Woodward
- Man Utd must be tempted to look at Klopp and wonder: what if?
- Send your thoughts to Rob here
Rashford gives United the lead but Liverpool think there was a foul in the build-up!
36 min De Gea makes a better save from Firmino’s header, but he’d been flagged offside.
34 min De Gea makes a good save from Firmino after a smart break from Liverpool. Matip swept a fine long pass out to Mane on the right. He kept the ball in, charged down the wing and then cut the ball back perfectly for Firmino to strike first time on the run from 15 yards. He didn’t really get hold of it, however, and de Gea plunged to his right to make an ultimately comfortable save.
32 min As with Everton yesterday, United’s performance suggests the manager certainly hasn’t lost the dressing-room.
31 min Young goes down after taking Henderson’s hand in his face. It was accidental.
30 min Henderson’s flat cross is volleyed wide from 12 yards by the stretching Firmino. It was a quarter-chance at best.
29 min Wan-Bissaka is having a terrific game. Whatever happens at United in the next few years, and all bets are off, it should be a long time before they need to scout another right-back, never mind 800.
28 min A brilliant cross from Wan-Bissaka is serenely cleared by van Dijk at the near post. That was a vital bit of defending.
27 min Rashford, on the left, zips away from Henderson and then Matip in the area, only to mistime his attempted cutback towards James. It was a lovely run, though, and he’s looked sharp in the last 10 minutes. United are playing with split strikers, as they did to good effect when Solskjaer was caretaker manager.
25 min McTominay takes matters into his hands, marauding forward from midfield before hitting a low shot from 25 yards that is comfortably saved by Alisson. It was a good run but a fairly tame shot.
25 min The game is too important to feel boring, but if this was Mansfield v Swindon we’d be calling it a stinker.
24 min “Hi Rob,” says Julian Smith. “I stumbled across this today. Great doc about the history of the rivalry between these two great cities and the mutual respect that we hopefully now acknowledge between each other (grudgingly no doubt). We’re closer than either side would now care to admit. Of course, you won’t have a chance to watch while there’s so much action going on but Merseyside/GM reds should appreciate it (even though it’s an LFCTV production).”
It’s interesting that nobody (as far as I’m aware) has written a book about the rivalry. There are plenty, for example, on Barcelona and Real Madrid, though I realise that’s a bigger, broader rivalry.
23 min I’d be tempted to switch Mane back to his usual position on the left. Liverpool haven’t really threatened yet, despite looking the calmer, classier side.
22 min Young’s corner is punched away by Alisson.
21 min Rashford leaves van Dijk on all fours and finds Pereira, whose shot deflects wide for a corner. Young will take it.
21 min United break through Rashford, whose attempted through pass to James is blocked by Matip. It wasn’t a great pass.
20 min Andy Robertson’s cross is cleared by Maguire as far as ... Robertson, who storms forward to win the ball himself. I love watching him so much. He’s an elemental force.
19 min “It’s coming,” says Mary Waltz. “Liverpool is starting to control the midfield. United is dropping back. United is being reduced to knocking it long and hoping. A Liverpool goal, like Winter, is coming.”
17 min Wan-Bissaka plays a good pass into the area for Pereira, whose speculative backheel goes through to Alisson with no United forwards in sight. Gary Neville makes the valid point that James and Rashford have both been pretty static so far.
17 min The match is starting to settle into the expected pattern, with Liverpool dominating possession. Marcus Rashford is already starting to look a bit hacked off.
15 min Maguire drives a crossfield pass straight out of play. It’s been a good start from United in terms of aggression and endeavour, but not quality in possession.
13 min Liverpool are starting to stir as an attacking force. Wijnaldum neatly slips both McTominay and Fred before hitting a low shot from 25 yards that is comfortably saved by de Gea.
12 min Pereira leads a promising attack, sees Wan-Bissaka in space on the right ... and then mishits a miserable shot from 25 yards that is claimed by Alisson.
10 min Liverpool’s first decent attack. Mane heads the ball down nicely for Firmino, who surges into the area on the left before slicing a half-volley miles wide.
9 min A dangerous free-kick from Pereira on the right is supeerbly defended by Robertson at the near post. Had he missed that, Rashford would have had a clear shot from 10 yards.
9 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Matt Dony should count his blessings. Maybe being a Liverpool and Wales fan ain’t so bad, when you could be, say, a Dundee United and Scotland fan (wins over San Marino don’t count). Even Gerwyn Price is going further in the darts than Gary Anderson these days. Although one of the year’s more heart-warming stories involves the incomparable Andy Murray, who is currently giving it a right go in the final of the European Open in Antwerp. He’ll lose, but still ...”
8 min This has been a really aggressive start from United, summed up by a late shoulder charged by Pereira on van Dijk. Liverpool haven’t got going yet.
5 min United are pressing much higher than expected, with Young and Wan-Bissaka playing as genuine wing-backs for now. A decent cross from Young - rocking up on the right in open play for some reason - flashes across goal.
3 min I take it back: United are playing a 3-4-1-2, with Pereira closer to the influential Fabinho.
2 min Young lobs a good ball down the left to Rashford, who runs at Matip but then picks the wrong option with a nothing cross that is easily cleared.
2 min Sadio Mane has started on the right for Liverpool, with Origi on the left. United’s formation looks like a 3-3-2-2, with McTominay deeper than Fred and Pereira.
1 min Peep peep! United, in red, kick off from left to right. Liverpool are in white, chasing an 18th consecutive victory.
“Jonathan Wilson has a point that United might be looking at Klopp and saying ‘What if?’,” says Peter Oh, ‘but the teamsheet suggests that they looked at Klopp, swallowed dryly and commanded Ole to ‘PUT FIVE AT THE BACK!!!’.”
The players emerge to the usual sound of This Is the One by the Stone Roses. It’s time for business.
Jose Mourinho, on Sky Sports, has just said “it’s very, very rare that magic tactics win a game”. Everything we know is wrong.
Paul Pogba is at Old Trafford, limping around with a walking stick.
“I’m currently waiting for a flight from Brasilia to Rio on Gol Airlines before heading home to London on Norwegian Air,” says Chris Hall. “I’m not entirely sure what it all means but with three Brazilians in my team today, even with no Salah, surely a 0-0 isn’t on the cards?”
Well, three of the last six league games have ended goalless. It’s not beyond the realms, especially with United playing an 5-3-0-0-0-0-2 formation. But I’d expect Liverpool to win maybe 2-0 or 3-0. It’s not like you’re on Golless Airlines, is it.
“I really, really did not enjoy this morning, Rob,” says our Wales/Liverpool fandom correspondent Matt Dony. “The rugby took several years off my life expectancy. I’m very keen for this afternoon to be less tight and less stressful. Five or six early Liverpool goals to settle the nerves would be useful.”
Surely this morning was a reminder me that late victories are all the preceding misery?
Axel Tuanzebe has been injured in the warm-up. Marcos Rojo replaces him and Phil Jones moves to the bench. This is the revised team news.
Manchester United (possible 5-3-2) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Rojo, Young; Fred, McTominay, Pereira; James, Rashford.
Substitutes: Romero, Ro Jones, Williams, Garner, Mata, Greenwood, Martial.
Some pre-match reading
David de Gea is fit for Manchester United, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka returns in what looks like a back five. Anthony Martial is on the bench. United could also play with a diamond, with Axel Tuanzebe in midfield and Andreas Pereira on Fabinho.
Liverpool are without Mo Salah, who is injured, so Divock Origi comes in. Alisson returns to the starting line-up.
Hello. Manchester United v Liverpool is a fixture so big it deserves its own Blackadder simile. And this one feels even bigger than usual. The context of today’s match can be summarised by a number and a football season.
The number is 18. If Liverpool win today, they will equal Manchester City’s English record of 18 consecutive league wins, and move three points closer to finally adding to their 18 league titles.Continue reading...
Far from being dismayed by Manchester United’s worst start to a season in three decades coinciding with Liverpool’s best, Ole Gunnar Solskjær came out with fighting talk that bordered on the provocative as he prepared for Sunday’s north-west derby at Old Trafford.
A draw would deny Liverpool a record-equalling 18th consecutive top-flight victory and in the circumstances most United supporters would probably be happy enough with a point against the leaders, though Solskjær insists his side will be going for a win.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, having leapt several steps of the managerial ladder, does not have a preferred style and it shows
O n this weekend four years ago, Jürgen Klopp got off the bus at White Hart Lane before his first game as Liverpool manager to an extraordinary clamour. Fans packed the street outside the car park just to see him, and journalists packed the opposite pavement just to see them. The sense of excitement and expectation was palpable – and it has been justified. Liverpool have undergone a remarkable transformation since.
Liverpool went into that fixture 10th in the Premier League table; they go into Sunday’s game at Old Trafford as league leaders and European champions. Of Klopp’s 18-man match-day squad four years ago, three – James Milner, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi –are still at the club. There has been a radical overhaul of personnel and playing style.Continue reading...
After eight games Ole Gunnar Solskjær is in crisis-management mode as his plunging Manchester Unitedside have left him feeling the pressure. If results go the wrong way United could be in the relegation zone by Sunday evening with the manager’s job prospects looking grim. The flip side is that victory over the league leaders could be the springboard to turn fortunes around. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
• ‘People are trying to create it as a banana skin’, manager says
Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s visit to Manchester United has been hyped as a potential banana skin for the Premier League leaders to provoke a show of defiance from Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side.
Liverpool are 15 points clear of their old rivals with only eight matches played and can equal Manchester City’s Premier League record of 18 successive victories on Sunday. Klopp, however, claims it is insulting to dismiss United as a “nobody” while Danny Mills’ combined XI featuring only Liverpool players, the overwhelming odds on his team to win at Old Trafford and the negativity surrounding Solskjær are designed purely to motivate the struggling hosts. “People are trying to create it as a banana skin,” said Klopp, who has not won at Old Trafford as Liverpool manager.Continue reading...
• I’m confident in what we’re trying to do, manager adds
• United wracked by injuries as they prepare for Liverpool’s visit
After a quip about a packed media room being “noisy”, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was asked whether being Manchester United manager was too much for him.
His side have nine points from eight league matches before Liverpool’s visit on Sunday, so the question addressed a sizeable issue. Solskjær’s response was to laugh. “No, I’ve never felt it’s too big for me,” he said. “I’m confident in what we’re trying to do and I’m confident in my staff. The coaching and what’s happening here every single day, I’ve been so impressed. The improvement is there to see for us but it’s about results: start winning games, start scoring goals. We need to create more chances because at the back we’ve looked solid.Continue reading...
A crunch clash at Old Trafford, Palace tackle vulnerable champions and could West Ham do for Marco Silva?
The last time Liverpool visited Old Trafford, they met a United side struggling with injuries – even before three players were forced off during the first half. But, though Liverpool were three points clear at the top, they played as though the goalless draw they eventually achieved was an acceptable result. In the event, Manchester City pipped them to the title by a point, and though that required a phenomenal run of 14 straight wins, had Liverpool embraced the pressure and played with their usual intensity in that game they would now be champions of England, not into their 30th season without a league title. On Sunday, Liverpool will arrive able to wear and excuse any slip-up: they are eight points clear at the top, while United, who are not quite as abhorrently awful as they’ve looked recently, will have some key players back from injury and should be up for the fight. Even so, Liverpool would be foolish to entertain those thoughts. They have one foot on City’s throat and the other aimed at United’s solar plexus; allowing them to escape instead of kicking them when they’re down would be a significant oversight with potentially significant repercussions. Playing safe is not always the safe option. DH
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
• Woodward confirms belief in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s abilities
Ed Woodward believes the perception he and other non-experts are making decisions over football policy at Manchester United is “insulting”, though the executive vice-chairman admits recruitment strategy was dysfunctional in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.Continue reading...
Through the long years when Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were amassing trophies and cash, and Liverpool were stagnating in a derelict neighbourhood, Anfield could only dream of today’s reversal of fortunes. Liverpool, rebuilt and rebooted since 2010 under their US investor owners, arrive on Sunday as European champions and Premier League leaders at an Old Trafford groaning under United’s US owners, who have plundered the club and bungled the Ferguson succession.
Liverpool’s owners, John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, did not fully understand what they were taking on when they bought a club so steeped in history and emotion, but they learned from their early missteps and gradually refurbished Anfield with expertise. United’s owners, the six siblings of the Glazer family, bought the club in their debt‑loading raid in 2005, enjoyed the fruits of Ferguson’s genius but are now on their fourth manager since his 2013 retirement with their former banker Ed Woodward in charge of the club.Continue reading...
United’s shortsighted approach has left Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side lacking character – especially compared with Klopp’s team
Liverpool go to Manchester United on Sunday top of the table, nearly eight months since they last dropped a league point, and knowing that another victory could leave United as low as 17th by the end of the weekend. Based on performances this season it is hard to see how this United team can hurt Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, but perhaps the worst thing about the failure they are experiencing is that I believe they have no choice but to just live with it, for now at least.
By the end of his time in Manchester José Mourinho was making everybody miserable – his players, anyone forced to regularly watch them, and even himself. United were pretty much unbearable before he was sacked last December. But though the Portuguese is not widely associated with free-flowing football there is one thing he guarantees: trophies. In sacking him United effectively announced that some things – particularly a commitment to youth and attacking football – were more important to them than trophies.Continue reading...
It has been widely reported, not entirely without glee, that Manchester United have had their worst start to a league season since 1989-90. Plenty of those reports have excluded one not insignificant detail; that the manager of the club back then was Alex Ferguson.
Solskjær inherited an inadequate, poisonous mess of a squad and now he has a major injury crisis as well
It would be unfair to say there is an anti-Solskjær agenda in the media but there is certainly an anti-Solskjær moodContinue reading...
• Pogba has been out of action with a foot injury
Paul Pogba has been ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League match against Liverpool, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær also expecting David de Gea will be unavailable. The absence of two of key players for Sunday is a sizeable blow as the manager seeks to arrest a form slump in which United have not won in the league for more than a month.Continue reading...
De Bruyne, Mahrez, McTominay, Traoré, Guendouzi and Matip are, according to our stats, playing much better than last season
With more than a fifth of the Premier League season now behind us, the table is taking shape and players have had time to get back up to speed. Some have done so significantly faster than others and really kicked on compared to their performances last season. Here are six players who have made big improvements on their showings last season.Continue reading...
Today’s whispers need to get a new Hive
Mario Mandzukic, without a minute of competitive football since May, is top of Manchester United’s shopping list in January. The Croatian is more out of favour at Juventus than Paul Simon at an Art Garfunkel gig, and seems set to sit on the sidelines until the January transfer window rolls around, having been left out entirely of the Old Lady’s Champions League squad.
United, meanwhile, are woefully short of options up top, with Tony Martial injured, Mason Greenwood a bit, um, green, and Marcus Rashford seemingly doing his best work these days off the left flank. Rumours are rampant that United already have a verbal agreement to sign Mandzukic in January, with the 33-year-old commanding a £9m fee and a £85,000-a-week contract. Ed Woodward always gets what he wants.Continue reading...
After a perfect Premier League start Jürgen Klopp’s team must adapt to the pressure of holding their nerve while well ahead
When the Premier League resumes at the weekend all eyes will be on Old Trafford to see whether Manchester United can become the first team to take points off Liverpool.
On the face of it such an outcome seems unlikely, even if derbies often have a life of their own. United have been terrible in the last few weeks, leading to fevered speculation over Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s future and the wisdom of appointing him in the first place, while Liverpool have sailed on so serenely that Jürgen Klopp’s team building and tactics are now attracting more attention than Pep Guardiola’s at Manchester City.Continue reading...
• Mohamed Salah is expected to recover from ankle injury
Liverpool will have Alisson available for the visit to Manchester United on Sunday after their first-choice goalkeeper stepped up his recovery from injury during the international break.Continue reading...
Héctor Bellerín played well for Arsenal Under-23s while returning from injury, but not every big star is a great example
Most of the Arsenal Under-23 team will have been unfazed by the thought of playing Liverpool at Meadow Park in Borehamwood in front of a crowd of 358. But a few of them may have been starstruck when they looked around and saw Héctor Bellerín in their defence. Bellerín’s appearance was unusual for two reasons. Star players returning from injury usually play for less than an hour and only do so in reserve games at the club’s own stadium. Bellerín played the full 90 minutes at a local non-league ground, setting up Arsenal’s second equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Lining up alongside an established international should help the young Arsenal players develop. However, star names often prove as much aggro as they are worth for Under-23s managers. One told me: “We get different first-team players every game and it’s always for the benefit of the first team – not us. I never know who I’m getting until the day before a game, or even later. Put it this way: I never write out my team until I get to the ground! If we’re playing away, unless it’s close or we’re playing at a decent stadium, I assume I won’t get any first-team players. But if we’re at home and there’s no first-team game for a while, I might get half a dozen.”Continue reading...
• 80-year-old died from head injuries sustained in 2017
• United say they have acted upon coroner’s recommendations
Manchester United say they have taken steps to improve fan safety following the death of a supporter after a fall at Old Trafford two years ago.
Richard John Whale, 80, died from head injuries sustained after falling down a flight of steps while leaving the Sir Alex Ferguson stand towards the end of a game against Manchester City in December 2017.Continue reading...