For the last week (and all weekend) we’ve been hearing all about Liverpool vs. Manchester United.
Now, it’s finally here.
[ MORE: Analyzing key battles ]
Ahead of the clash at Anfield on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports) there are plenty of intriguing battles across the pitch.
Let’s take a look at the three key matchups.
This is perhaps the key battle of the game. Henderson has been the rock in the center of Liverpool’s midfield this season, sitting deep and covering more ground than any other Liverpool player. His task will be to keep the marauding Pogba quiet. The French international has improved in recent weeks with the shackles taken off him and Ander Herrera sitting behind. Without his partner in crime Georginio Wijnaldum, Henderson will try and lock down Pogba move for move but if the United man gets on the ball deep he could dictate the tempo. That would be bad news for Liverpool.
A clash of two physically imposing figures, Zlatan will fancy his chances of bullying Matip. United’s talisman hasn’t scored in his past three PL games and you feel like he’s due a big performance. There’s plenty of pressure on Zlatan’s shoulders but we all know he thrives off of that. As for Matip, he’s quietly gone about his business in the past few weeks. At times he can be guilty of giving the ball away cheaply and he’s not the quickest but he’ll relish an aerial battle against Zlatan.
If Rashford does start out wide this will be an epic battle between two England internationals. Clyne has stumbled a little this season but his defensive credentials are there for all to see. Both are quick and direct and Rashford will also have to track back if he starts out on the left ahead of Lingard or Martial. Rashford will look to cut inside as much as possible so Clyne’s positioning to show him the outside channel will have to be spot on.