Manchester United v Liverpool: What to look out for in meeting of giants

On Sunday, Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & Cristiano Ronaldo
This weekend, Liverpool and Manchester United will go head-to-head in one of English football’s most important rivalries.

While both sides have city rivals within the Premier League, the biggest one for many is the meeting between the sides separated by 32 kilometres.

This is their 202nd encounter, with Liverpool winning 68 and United winning 81.

Last match between these two sides, at Old Trafford in May, was delayed because United fans protested against club owners. The rearranged match was won by Liverpool 4-2.

United is trying to prove they are worthy of the big trophies, while Liverpool looks to rebound from last year's disappointment.

BBC Sport examines some potential talking points.

What is the key moment in United's title hope?

United is sixth on the table with six wins, two draws, and two defeats in eight games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has only one point from the last three games. They must quickly find a form if they want to challenge for title.

The title winners have lost only two to three league games in four of the seven seasons that they have been in the top five.

Manchester City won the title last season with 86 points. This was the lowest total title-winning haul since Leicester 2016. United must average 2.4 points per game to even get close to that number.

Liverpool is third, unbeaten, but the gap to United would be only a point if United win.

Simon Stone, BBC Sport's Simon Stone stated: "Talk to some Manchester United fans. They are quiet optimistic about their meeting against Liverpool. Although they may have lost three of the last eight games, their team is expected to win Liverpool at Old Trafford, which could be a sign that United's stars will shine.

"The frequent discussion about not knowing which United team will be there revolves around the inherent weaknesses of the manager's 4-2-3-1 configuration.

It is said that the players are not as hard-working when they don't have the ball. This puts pressure on the players behind.

"Regardless of the personnel deployed, the midfield 2 do not serve as a pivot between attack and defence, which exposes technical issues at the back, leaving David de Gea exposed in goal."

Liverpool: The forgotten title contender

It was strange to see everyone discussing the two-way title race between Manchester City (Chelsea) in the summer.

Twenty-eight BBC pundits tipped City, seven tipped Chelsea and none predicted Liverpool winning the title.

An expert couldn't have predicted Liverpool would finish in the top four.

Liverpool was 18 points ahead of third in the 2019-20 Premier League standings.

They came in third place, 17 points behind City, but were held back by several defensive injuries, including to Virgil van Dijk.

Now, the Dutch centre-back is back and Liverpool are unbeaten in 12 games across all competitions this season. They have scored 36 goals.

Salah vs Ronaldo - Who will win?

Cristiano Ronaldo (r), has won every match he played against Mohamed Salah (Real Madrid, Portugal, Egypt, Real Madrid, Liverpool).

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford was the talk of the summer, but Mohamed Salah is taking the Premier League by storm.

Salah has scored seven goals in eight matches, including two goal of the season contenders. He is joint-top of the scorers' list with Jamie Vardy, and joint second in assists with four.

Ronaldo has, however, only three goals and no assists over five games - less than Hwang Heechan, Ismaila Sharr, Callum Wilson, and Neal Maupay.

The gap between Salah (12 goals and Ronaldo (6 goals) in all competitions is greater.

Liverpool fans know Salah as the King. Can he prove that he is now the Premier League's best player?

Jurgen Klopp, Reds boss, said that it was wrong to compare Cristiano Ronaldo with Mo Salah. Both are world-class players so it's natural that they would be compared.

"I would say that Ronaldo's left shoe isn't too bad, but Mo's left heel is probably better.

"Maybe Cristiano is slightly faster in the air and the right foot may be better. They are both very quick and desperate to score goals, so maybe this is it.

Manchester United fans protest club ownership by marching on the Old Trafford pitch

Analysis: Protest issues are not going away

Simon Stone, BBC Sport

Manchester United confirmed that Edward Glazer and Kevin Glazer had raised $161.31m ($116.97m) via their share sale. Joel Glazer had just three weeks before attended his second fan's forum, after not having been to one in the 16 years of his family owning the club.

The visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford serves as a stark reminder about the trouble that caused last year's game to be cancelled after fans broke into the stadium. They also spilled onto the pitch breaking Covid restrictions. However, the two cases involving United's owners are connected.

Joel Glazer broke his silence following the Liverpool disaster. This was caused by long-standing disenchantment and the fallout of the doomed European Super League project.

Supporters demanded greater involvement from fans. Glazer has teamed up with Manchester United Supporters Trust to create a share program.

Fans could, however, have purchased the shares that two members of the Glazer family just sold if they wanted.

They weren't voting shares, but that's what you MUST want. Consider the cost. It is more than 100m. It will cost $3bn to purchase United.

Fans alone are unlikely to reach that level of wealth. It will be necessary to invest in order for the Glazers not to leave. This would be into a club that now has three domestic competitors - Manchester City and Chelsea - who have access substantially more funds. It is unlikely that the Glazers will ever see the same sustained glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson.

This weekend is not expected to see any further mass protests. However, the problems at Manchester United are not over.

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