Anthony Martial

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Pogba, De Gea miss Man United training

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It doesn’t seem like either David De Gea or Paul Pogba will play in the UEFA Europa League for Manchester United on Thursday.

Neither stars were training with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side on Wednesday, ahead of the Red Devils playing at Partizan Belgrade.

It is likely both will be saved for their Premier League clash at Norwich City on Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET online via NBCSports.com), with Pogba in a race against time to be ready.

Pogba has missed United’s last three games after a reoccurrence of foot and ankle issues, as he travelled to Dubai over the international break to try and get himself fit as soon as possible.

De Gea wasn’t expected to play against Liverpool on Sunday after suffering a thigh injury playing for Spain, but the goalkeeper rushed back and will likely be rested with Sergio Romero set to start on Thursday.

Solskjaer’s injury woes are easing a little with Jesse Lingard returning, while Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka played against Liverpool to give the Red Devils a boost.

Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic are closing in on a return from injury, while Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly and now Axel Tuanzebe are out.

With four-straight away games coming up in all competitions, United have reached a pivotal stage of their season after their worst PL start for 30 years.

They play Partizan (Europa League), Norwich, Chelsea (League Cup) and Bournemouth in the next 10 days, and after a morale-boosting performance and draw against Liverpool, Solskjaer is hoping the treatment room continues to empty and confidence continues to build.

Player ratings from Manchester United-Liverpool

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Manchester United’s late letdown denied Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a statement victory against Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool, as both managers had their moments at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool ]

The players, too, were a mixed bag, as Liverpool missed Mohamed Salah in a big way in a game that also cried out for Paul Pogba.

Manchester United

David De Gea — 6 — Not a ton to do, and would’ve had to have been a super hero to deny the goal.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 7 — Was very good for most of the match, though either Andreas Pereira or him failed to bother Andy Robertson‘s cross for the equalizer.

Marcos Rojo — 5 — A solid step-in performance right up until he committed to block Robertson’s cross and missed it, allowing Lallana a tap-in.

Victor Lindelof — 6 — Got away with a foul on Origi in the build-up to United’s goal, but otherwise well within himself.

Harry Maguire — 7 — Marshaled a surprising back three very well.

Ashley Young — 6 — All over the place, sometimes in the good way and sometimes in the bad.

Fred — 5 — Like watching a whirlwind, it’s difficult to tell whether his activity is influential in a positive light or just making up for lack of positional awareness.

Scott McTominay — 7 — He’s a big, strong, heady youngster, and did well in a midfield match-up which was considering to be a lopsided disadvantage.

Andreas Pereira (Off 90′) — 5 — Ran his shorts off, but so many needless fancy first half touches. Imagine Pogba in his place executing this game plan, and it may’ve been 3-1 at the break.

Daniel James — 7 — Took a beating and contributed plenty at the back end, and that’s without mentioning his cross for Rashford’s goal.

Marcus Rashford (Off 84′) — 7 — A slow start gave way to a star turn, with his goal the highlight but his industry what made him a MOTM candidate.

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer — 8 — Would’ve liked to see Martial or Mata for Pereira earlier, but the back three was as gutsy and proper trap for Klopp, one that clearly upset the Liverpool boss. With Mohamed Salah out, the move blossomed further.

Subs:
Anthony Martial (On 84′) — N/A
Brandon Williams (On 90′) — N/A

Liverpool

Alisson Becker — 6 — One save and one clearance in a non-descript match.

Andrew Robertson — 7 — Relentless as usual and got his assist through traffic to keep the undefeated record in play. Caught out of the camera on United’s goal, but that’s a symptom of the system.

Virgil Van Dijk — 6 — Fine. Would’ve liked him to do something instead of playing a mile off of James’ run, but expecting heroism in every game is a lot for a center back.

Joel Matip — 5 — A step back for the newly-resigned center back, as he couldn’t cut out James’ cross on the goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — 5 — Ten crosses. One on the mark. A decent-enough day in his own end, but far from his standard without Mohamed Salah.

Fabinho — 6 — Hard-edged when the Reds were sleeping.

Jordan Henderson (Off 71′) — 4 — Sloppy and grew more so after the break, clearly frustrated by the atmosphere. Took a decent chance to trouble De Gea and sliced it into outer space.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Off 82′)  — 7 — A curious sub, as the Dutch international looked one of the few players capable of supplying something special.

Sadio Mane — 6 — Has a goal in a world without silly handball rules. Otherwise not really in the fray.

Divock Origi (Off 60′) — 4 — On his horse early, his influence waned to the point he was a spectator when Jurgen Klopp replaced him.

Roberto Firmino — 5 — A rare off day for one of the best center forwards in the business.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp — 7 — It took him a while to figure out United’s back three, but all three of his subs were influential in the point.

Subs:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (On 60′) — 8 — The original AOC changed the game.
Adam Lallana (On 71′) — 8 — That’s a great way to end a goal drought
Naby Keita (On 82′) — 7 — Got the defense moving, setting up space for Robertson assist.

Watch Live: Manchester United v. Liverpool

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images
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Manchester United chases a notable home win over rivals Liverpool without Paul Pogba and David De Gea, as the visitors look to match a pair of Premier League records on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Liverpool can tie the standard for consecutive away Premier League wins (9) while also winning its 18th-straight league match.

There’s a place on the Manchester United bench for Anthony Martial, but there are three center backs in the forms of Harry Maguire, Axel Tuanzebe, and Victor Lindelof.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is not ready for any sort of return.

David De Gea and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have passed fit for United, while Divock Origi starts with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for Liverpool.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Tuanzebe, Young, Fred, McTominay, Pereira, James, Rashford. Subs: Romero, Mata, Martial, Rojo, Greenwood, Garner, Williams.

Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Origi, Firmino. Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.

Key battles for Manchester United v. Liverpool

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The fact that that question is unquestionably valid, the visiting Reds a heavy favorite at the home of their longtime rival, says a lot, doesn’t it?

[ PL PREVIEW: Man Utd v. Liverpool ]

Let’s start with two 1v1 jobs and end with a battle that only involves two men and their bodies.

Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spring a midfield surprise to level tilted pitch

Make no mistake about it: Whatever midfield Jurgen Klopp trots onto the field at Old Trafford will be far superior to the one on the other side.

Manchester United boss Solskjaer was pretty optimistic when he pointed to this match as the “perfect” one to follow the Red Devils setback against Newcastle United, which seems bonkers but could serve as a proper showcase of why the club continues to back its former star striker.

So how will Solskjaer attempt to outfox the Reds without Paul Pogba as a midfield different maker? It seems likely we’ll see hard men at their hardest and most ornery in the forms of Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, although Fred has seen plenty of playing time as of late.

Solskjaer might be best served by sitting back and trying to counter, but that doesn’t really vibe with Solskjaer’s overall “We’re Manchester United” mentality. So presuming we won’t see five at the back, it’s paramount that the boss finds a way to outduel (probably) three of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Georginio Wijnaldum.

It kinda recalls “The Dark Knight” when the Wayne Enterprises lawyer tries to blackmail the company via its bankrolling of Batman. Picture Morgan Freeman offering a smirking, “Good luck.”

Maguire hopes to defy his history versus Liverpool

Harry Maguire has a quality record against many teams, but Liverpool is not one of them.

The now-Red Devils’ center back managed a goal in Leicester City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool last season, but that point was the first he’s won against Liverpool dating back to his time with Hull City. Maguire is 1W-1D-4L all-time against the Reds.

Maguire has seen Liverpool score eight goals in its last four matches against him, all while a member of Leicester, and the scorers are familiar: Salah (3), Mane (2),  Firmino (1), Jordan Henderson (1), Philippe Coutinho (1).

With the midfield mismatched in heavy favor of Liverpool, Maguire and Victor Lindelof will need to produce one of their finest displays.

Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka versus their fitness

With Paul Pogba and David De Gea out of the lineup, there’s no question that extra emphasis will be placed on United’s standout players when the ball is kicked on Sunday.

Make no mistake about: Along with Harry Maguire, Martial and Wan-Bissaka have been United’s best players when healthy this season.

Martial scored in United’s first two matches and picked up an assist in the third, where he also picked up a hamstring injury. His ability to make something out of nothing, particularly from distance, is a massive asset against a team as strong defensively as Liverpool. Wan-Bissaka missed his side’s loss at Newcastle United with tonsillitis.

Both would drastically affect which battles we also find key to this match, with their pace and prowess out wide the Red Devils’ most likely avenue to keeping Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson on their toes.

Martial’s return would be especially big. With Marcus Rashford on a terrible run of inconsistency, you don’t know what you’re going to get from the youngster. Martial can only help alleviate the burden.

Premier League Preview: Man Utd v. Liverpool

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It’s been a while since a Liverpool trip to Manchester United felt like such a heavy lift for the home team, but that’s precisely the case when Old Trafford is our scene for one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

United sits 15 points behind the unblemished visitors, and will be without Paul Pogba and David De Gea for the event.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Still, all is not lost; The Red Devils’ poor attack may see the return of Anthony Martial, who had a goal or an assist in all three of his PL matches this season before a hamstring injury cost him six weeks.

And Liverpool will be tasked with breaking down a United defense which has only allowed multiple goals twice this season (Crystal Palace, West Ham).

They’ll be confident of doing that, especially knowing that a win would match two Premier League records:

  • Most consecutive matches unbeaten in league play (18)
  • Most wins to start a PL season (9)

Those numbers also mean the Reds have won a remarkable nine-consecutive away matches in the Premier League. Not bad.


Injuries/suspensions

Manchester United: OUT — Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, David De Gea, Diogo Dalot. QUESTIONABLE — Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard

Liverpool: OUT — Nathaniel Clyne. QUESTIONABLE — Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker, Joel Matip


Probable lineups

Manchester United: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Fred, McTominay; Pereira, James, Martial; Rashford.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah.


What they’re saying

United’s Daniel James on his regular playing time: “When I joined that’s what I wanted to do. I wasn’t coming here just to be a squad player, but for the gaffer to believe in me and play me from the start, that’s something I want to continue to do.”

Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s status as heavy favorites“Sky made a combined line-up and had 11 Liverpool players. That’s like a joke, like building a banana skin. The world in the moment is a circus, and we are at the center: a couple of people want us to win, a couple want us to lose. I’m not influenced by it.”


Prediction

The ball is in Liverpool’s court here, though the possible but unlikely absence of Salah would loom large. The Pogba loss won’t be as glaring if Martial is able to return. Still, this has big Liverpool win written all over it, and asks the question of how much heart the Red Devils will show on behalf of its embattled manager? Even if it’s a lot, we expect something like 2-0 to Liverpool.