Liverpool, Manchester United face Anfield exam

Saturday January 16 2021
soccer03pix

On-form Pogba (L) vies for the ball with Liverpool’s Firmino

By Timothy Kalyegira

For the first time since Alex Ferguson’s title-winning farewell season in 2012-13, United are top of the table at this stage of the campaign.

 For the first time since Alex Ferguson’s title-winning farewell season in 2012-13, United are top of the table at this stage of the campaign.

Manchester United’s bid to win the Premier League for the first time in eight years will face a major test when the leaders face champions Liverpool today.

With points certain to be dropped by one of the title contenders at Anfield this weekend, third placed Manchester City can climb back into the race.

Slumping Chelsea have been forced to put their own title ambitions on hold after a woeful run that must be arrested soon to take the pressure off boss Frank Lampard.
After unexpectedly gate-crashing the title race with nine wins during an 11-match unbeaten run, Manchester United head to Anfield knowing they have a golden opportunity to open up a potentially priceless six-point lead over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Bigger cushion 
For the first time since Alex Ferguson’s title-winning farewell season in 2012-13, United are top of the table at this stage of the campaign.

They hold a three-point cushion over second placed Liverpool after Tuesday’s success at Burnley -- a far cry from the 30-point gap the Reds had opened up over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side when they last met in January 2020.

Advertisement

Having made their worst home league start to a season in 48 years, United were in turmoil when they suffered a shock Champions League group stage exit.

But Solskjaer, who appeared in danger of the sack, deserves credit for dragging United back into contention and a first win against Liverpool since 2018 would be the perfect way to show their challenge is more than a flash in the pan.

United have won seven league games on their travels this term, while Liverpool -- ravaged by defensive injuries and suddenly short of goals -- have gone three league matches without a victory.

“They’re champions by right and we’re looking forward to it and it’s a great test of where we’re at against a good team,” Solskjaer said.
Aguero pain 
Hampered by Sergio Aguero’s prolonged absence with a variety of injuries and forced to deal with a debilitating coronavirus outbreak among his squad, Pep Guardiola has somehow steered Manchester City back into the title race.

City’s 1-0 win against Brighton on Wednesday extended their unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions and left them just four points behind United with a game in hand.
With City hosting Crystal Palace today before taking on Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United and Burnley in their next league games, the time is now for Guardiola’s men to take their move. City are much improved from the back four that was routinely criticised last season. 

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

TODAY’S FIXTURES
Aston Villa       vs. Everton
LIVE SS 223 3pm
Sheffield Utd vs. Tottenham 
LIVE SS 223 5.05pm
Liverpool         vs. Manchester Utd LIVE SS 223 7.30pm
Man City          vs. Crystal Palace 
LIVE SS 223 10.15pm

Advertisement