Liverpool Travel to Old Trafford To Face United In The FA Cup

Last updated: January 20, 2021 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 17:00
Venue: Old Trafford
Coverage: BBC One
Home Form: WDDLD
Away Form: DWWWD
Last Meeting: Liverpool 0 – 0 Man United
Competition: FA Cup

The FA Cup provides a second chance for the two most successful clubs in England to shake off the disappoint of an unconvincing Premier League tie last weekend. Lessons will have been learnt; tactics tweaked, it should be a great game!

Manchester United had an easier game than expected at Anfield when the two sides met in the Premier League last Sunday. After surviving a 30-minute bombardment at the beginning of the game, it was a fairly comfortable game which United could have won if not for a couple of good saves from Allison to prevent first Bruno Fernandes and then Paul Pogba near the end.

If United are to advance to the fifth round, they will need to break a five-game winless streak against their biggest rivals, they have lost twice and drawn three since they last won (a 2-1 win in March 2018). That victory in 2018 ended another winless streak which had lasted for five games.

It has been a common theme for United to struggle against the ‘big six’. This season, they have already lost to Tottenham and Arsenal and draws against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

And while Bruno Fernandes has quite rightly received a lot of praise for his impact on this side, his performances against the elite teams haven’t been so great. Against Liverpool in the league game, he lost the ball nineteen times and was taken off before the end of the game, frustration evident on the Portuguese internationals face.

On a positive note for the Red Devils, they are still in the running in the Premier League. This time last season, United were well off the pace. Defeat at Anfield left them 30-points shy of the champions-elect. In the thirty-one games they have played since Bruno Fernandes joined, they have picked up sixty-eight points, Liverpool and Manchester City have sixty-two points in that period. Fernandes has had the most goal involvements in all competitions. His tally of thirty-three (nineteen goals and fourteen assists) puts him ahead of Harry Kane (eighteen goals and eleven assists) and Mohamed Salah (twenty goal and seven assists).

United faced Championship Watford in the third-round and progressed thanks to Scott McTominay’s fourth-minute header that secured a 1-0 win. It was a below-par performance from United, but they could have added to the scoreline with chances missed by Juan Mata, Daniel James and Marcus Rashford. Although the visitors also had chances. Hornet’s Adam Masina went close shortly after United had taken the lead, Dean Henderson blocking the defenders’ effort.

Liverpool should do themselves a big favour and sign some players to sort their injury worries, especially in defence. Even a short-term deal to bring in reinforcements would ease the pressure as Jürgen Klopp didn’t have a single senior natural centre back in their encounter with United, prompting Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to cover at the back.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both long-term injuries with Naby Keita, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Konstantinos Tsimikas also sidelined. Although it’s worth mentioning that while much has been made of the injury woes at Anfield, a few clubs have more players out injured than Liverpool’s six. Brighton and Southampton both have nine players out.

The magic Firmino brought to their attack also seems to have faded with the once potent forwards now struggling to find the net. The 0-0 draw with United means they have now scored just one league goal in four games and this misfiring is one reason that Liverpool has slipped to fourth in the league.

In Liverpool’s third-round tie against Aston Villa, they were given almost a bye into the next round as the Midland club was forced to field a team consisting of U23 and U18 players. An outbreak of coronavirus at the club meant not a single senior player was available and with a packed schedule of fixtures, officials refused to postpone the game.

Klopp resisted the urge to go like-for-like by playing youngsters, opting to start with stars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho and also had the luxury of bringing on Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino later in the game.

Despite the 4-1 scoreline for Liverpool, it was far from a vintage performance. Liverpool was able to take advantage as the youngsters tired in the closing stages. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 4th minute before 17-year-old Louie Barry equalised four minutes before the interval. Three goals in the space of five minutes (Wijnaldum 60, Mane 63 and Salah 65) put the tie beyond doubt.

Liverpool has to contend with a busy end to the month after enjoying a week’s rest before their league encounter with Manchester United. Tomorrow, they face Burnley who are always hard to break down and are likely to put up a physical fight. Then after United, they face Tottenham and the much-improved West Ham in the space of a week.

Team News

Manchester United have four players ruled out; Marcos Rojo, Facundo Pellistri, Brandon Williams & Phil Jones.

Bruno Fernandes has the best numbers in goal involvement with thirty-three (nineteen goals and fourteen assists).

Liverpool is playing Henderson and Fabinho as their centre backs with Matip, Van Djik and Gomes injured.

Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s main threat with twenty-seven involvements (twenty goals and seven assists).

Expected Line-Ups:

Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani
Subs: Henderson, Tuanzebe, Fred, Mata, Lingard, Bailly, Matic, Beek, Martial, James, Greenwood
Injured: Jones, Rojo, Pellistri, Williams
Not available:
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Williams, Jones, Elliott, Keita, Minnamino, Milner, Origi
Injured: Matip, Van Djik, Gomes
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
United This Season Liverpool This Season
1st League Position 4th
11 (7) Wins (away) 9 (2)
6 – 2 v Leeds United Biggest Win 7 – 0 v Crystal Palace
3 (2) Draws (away) 7 (5)
1 – 6 v Spurs Biggest Defeat 2 – 7 v Aston Villa
Fernandes (11) Top Goal Scorer Salah (13)
Y29, R1 Discipline Y18, R0
4 Failures to Score 3
33% Clean Sheets 33%
65% Both Teams to Score Games 65%
57% Over 2.5 Goals 62%
43% Under 2.5 Goals 38%
  • The two sides have met 57 times; the Red Devils won 28 times against Liverpool’s 15 wins with 14 draws between them.
  • Both sides are likely to field their strongest sides; United have a weakness against the top six while Liverpool is malnourished in their attack.
  • Manchester United have scored just five goals in their last six games in all competitions.
  • Liverpool have failed to score in their last three league games but scored in the 4-1 FA Cup win against Aston Villa.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
17/01/2021 EPL Liverpool 0 – 0 Man United
19/01/2020 EPL Liverpool 2 – 0 Man United Van Djik 14’
20/10/2019 EPL Man United 1 – 1 Liverpool Rashford 36’
24/02/2019 EPL Man United 0 – 0 Liverpool
16/12/2018 EPL Liverpool 3 –1 Man United Mane 24’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

For many years the FA Cup was a favourite competition for the Red Devils. Their record of twelve competition wins is bettered only by Arsenal who have fourteen. However, it has been five years since they last lifted the trophy with Louis van Gaal’s team beating Crystal Palace in 2016. United under Solskjaer have become ‘nearly men’, reaching three semi-finals last year (FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League) without reaching the finals in any of these games. With just seven days since the last meeting between the two teams, it will be interesting to see if the Norweigan sticks with the same team and tactics that nearly stole victory at Anfield in the Premier League game.

The last time that Liverpool lifted the FA Cup was in 2006, a penalty shoot-out win securing the trophy over West Ham United. In recent years this competition has been low on Klopp’s priorities with the Champions League taking precedent in 2019 and the Premier League last year. With those titles won, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the FA Cup taken much more seriously by the German.

This fixture could go either way, but we will see a winner on Sunday with no FA Cup replays this year. We feel it will take extra-time to separate these two so the draw @ 12/5 with bet365 would be our tip.