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PL Preview: Man United v. Liverpool

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  • Man United has won 7 of last 9 home games against Liverpool
  • 2 teams have a combined 3 PL losses since start of October
  • Liverpool has conceded 8 goals in PL away games this season

Liverpool has to pass a stiff test to reclaim the top spot in the Premier League as the Reds travel to Old Trafford to take on in-form Manchester United at 9:05 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The Reds were passed by Manchester City on goal differential at the top of the Premier League table, but any form of result would bring them back into the lead. Still, having held a three-point advantage before City’s obliteration of Chelsea, anything less than a win will feel like dropped points for the visitors despite the challenge.

Manchester United comes into the match having won eight of its last nine Premier League matches, with a 2-2 draw against Burnley the only blemish on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s record. Manchester United’s last loss came at the hand of this Liverpool side, a 3-1 result that ended Jose Mourinho’s tenure as Red Devils manager. They could receive a surprise boost as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are in contention to earn a place despite recent injuries.

For Liverpool, they will see Virgil Van Dijk return to the defensive lineup after his suspension against Bayern Munich in midweek Champions League play, but he will be without his usual defensive partner in Dejan Lovren who continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury. While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to Liverpool training, but still has work to do to return to the pitch after missing almost a full year with a knee injury.

What they’re saying

Solskjaer on playing rivals Liverpool: “I’m focusing on us and what we have to do to get to where we want to be. It’s a three-horse race for the title and fourth, that’s my focus. I played a few of these [against Liverpool] myself and know the magnitude of it for the fans and everyone who works here. It’s our job to be focusing and channelling all that energy into performance mode when we start the game on Sunday.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on interim MUFC boss Solskjaer: “There is no doubt that he will be the manager next year as well, that’s clear. Can you imagine one situation when they say ‘We are bringing in another manager?’ Then a new manager will lose one game and that’s not possible. He deserves [the job] 100% – he did everything that you have to do to be successful with them.”

Video preview

Prediction

Liverpool will be up for this match, but the competition is stiff. Both teams will be smart about picking their spots, and it should be an entertaining match. A 1-1 draw seems like the best guess in a massively important match that could go in either direction, with the result promising to help shape the top four for the remainder of the season.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Premier League weekend friendlies: Man Utd-Inter, PL Asia Trophy

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This weekend in Premier League preseason friendlies sees Liverpool taking on a pair of top European foes, while four PL foes trade blows in Shanghai.

Man City and Wolves move on from significant defeats of Newcastle and West Ham, who in turn will face each other on Saturday.

You can watch Saturday’s Premier League Asia Trophy matches between Wolves and Man City, and Newcastle versus West Ham here on NBC Sports Live.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will tangle with Romelu Lukaku-chasing Inter Milan on Saturday (and, no, the Belgian striker won’t be in uniform).

There’s also a sneaky good match-up of Watford and Bayer Leverkusen in Austria on Saturday, while Sunday’s light docket has Spurs facing Matthijs de Ligt and Juventus in Singapore.

Friday
Borussia Dortmund v. Liverpool (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Saturday
Girona v. Bournemouth
Arsenal
v. Fiorentina (Charlotte)
Fulham v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Cheltenham Town v. Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra v. Burnley
Port Vale v. Burnley
Bromley v. Crystal Palace
Man City 
v. Wolves (Shanghai)
Inter Milan v. Manchester United (Singapore)
Newcastle United v. West Ham (Shanghai)
Northampton Town v. Sheffield United
Preston North End v. Southampton
Watford 
v. Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Sunday
Shrewsbury Town v. Aston Villa
Liverpool 
v. Sevilla (Boston)
Juventus v. Spurs (Singapore)

PL friendly wrap: Pukki leads Norwich past Schalke

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London sides went 0-2, while three other Premier League sides won ahead of Friday night’s friendly between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in Indiana.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The wins included defeats of Schalke and Monaco, while Brighton and Hove Albion topped lower league Crawley Town.

Schalke 1-2 Norwich City

Teemu Pukki had a goal and an assist, giving hope that the Championship goal collector can bring his game to the Premier League.

Pukki’s 13th minute goal was assisted by Man City loanee Patrick Roberts, and the Finn later assisted Moritz Leitner‘s winner.

Rabbi Matondo scored Schalke’s only goal, and American midfielder Weston McKennie was neither with the starters nor the bench.

Everton 1-0 Monaco

Seamus Coleman scored and Maarten Stekelenburg stopped a penalty as the Toffees handled their Ligue 1 opposition in Switzerland.

Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 ChelseaRECAP

Leandro Damaio scored the lone goal as Chelsea had plenty of chances to win in Christian Pulisic‘s debut. The American came off the bench for the final 25 minutes in Japan.

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace

Albert Adomah scored the lone goal in a win for the Championship side.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 Crawley Town

New signing Taylor Richards‘ late penalty kick was enough for the Seagulls to get a result at home. The Man City midfielder arrived on Thursday.

Liverpool v. Borussia Dortmund (Notre Dame, Indiana) — 8 p.m. ET

Algeria wins Africa Cup of Nations

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In the words of a Missouri-born rapper, you only get one shot. In Algeria’s case in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, that was true and it was all the Desert Foxes needed to claim their first AFCON title since 1990 with a 1-0 defeat of Senegal on Friday at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.

Baghdad Bounedjah’s wildly-deflected second minute shot was enough to give Algeria its second AFCON crown.

Senegal out shot Algeria 11-1 on the day, but Sadio Mane and Co. couldn’t find their way over the goal line.

One-time Man City and Southampton player Djamel Belmadi has now managed an AFCON winner and a Gulf Cup of Nations champion (Qatar, 2014).

[ MORE: Ballon d’Or w/o Messi, Ronaldo? ]

Bounedjah’s wild rip after a cut-in from the left bounded into the air and looped into the far corner. Senegal goalkeeper Amigo Gomis made it look more odd with his befuddlement (Scramble, my guy!).

Referee Neant Alioum’s ruling of a penalty to Senegal after Ismaila Sarr’s rip hit the arm of Adlene Guedioura was overturned when review showed the Algeria midfielder’s arm was at his side.

We mean, was this going to be the goal that won Africa’s most important tournament? Yep.

Ajax seals El Tri’s young star Alvarez for $17M

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Ajax has developed a ton of youngsters, and now has a pair of CONCACAF starlets in the fold for 2019-20.

A day after selling Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus for a reported $84 million, the Dutch side has delivered on reports that it wanted Edson Alvarez.

That puts the 21-year-old Mexican defender/defensive midfielder in the Eredivisie side with 18-year-old Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest.

While Dest has yet to break into the full USMNT, playing in the U-20 World Cup this summer, Alvarez already has 28 caps and five goals for El Tri.

He’ll bring a relative wealth of experience from Club America, and Ajax could use him to help offset the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona. While Alvarez has played a lot of center back in Liga MX, he’s been used at defensive midfielder by Tata Martino with the national team.

The reported fee is $17 million, according to Goal.