Liverpool's home win over Manchester United last season sent them clear at the top

Credit: Getty Images

What is it?

Second hosts first as Liverpool and Manchester United meet at Anfield in the biggest of the Premier League season so far. 

When is it?

The match is on Sunday, January 17. 

What time is kick-off?

The game gets under way at 4.30pm.

What TV channel is it on?

Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League have live coverage starting after the conclusion of Sheffield United vs Tottenham Hotspur. Alternatively, you can bookmark this page and return to spend the game in the company of our resident tactical expert JJ Bull. 

What is the team news?

Both teams have defensive headaches. Liverpool were hoping Joel Matip would recover from an abductor injury but he has missed group training sessions this week and remains very doubtful. With Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk sidelined with long-term injuries, Jurgen Klopp could pair Fabinho with Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips. Jordan Henderson has also played at centre-back but that feels risky. 

Georginio Wijnaldum, Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started in midfield in Liverpool’s defeat at Southampton. The first-choice front three are fit and available but Liverpool are still without Diogo Jota.

For United, Eric Bailly did recover from a head injury to play at Burnley but fellow defender Victor Lindelof is struggling with a back problem. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have two new injury doubts from the the win at Turf Moor with Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic limping off late in the game. Fred and Scott McTominay are expected to return in midfield. 

How does the league table look?

What have we said about the clubs?

Jason Burt argues that a title race between Manchester United and Liverpool would be great for English football:

It is not since 1997 that these two great northern clubs, separated by just 30 miles, have gone into the new year in first and second place in the Premier League. Liverpool were top then but slipped to fourth as United claimed the title with just 75 points. It remains the lowest points total to win the Premier League and it may take even fewer this season.

Luke Edwards wonders whether Liverpool have the hunger to defend their league title:

Jurgen Klopp’s side responded impeccably to the pain and torment of that near miss defeat to City, winning the title in such devastating fashion 12 months later there was no question about their mental strength. They used a setback as motivation rather than an excuse to soak in the bath of self pity.

Paul Pogba scored the winner at Burnley in United's last match

Credit: AP

James Ducker analyses how Paul Pogba turned his Manchester United form around:

What has been striking about the Pogba of late is his steadfast commitment both to the defensive and offensive aspects of his game. Solskjaer must have lost count of the number of times he watched Pogba making important defensive headers against Sheffield United, Aston Villa and now Burnley – there was a particularly good clearing header in the Villa game – and it has been refreshing to see the Frenchman taking such better care of the ball in tight spots.

Sam Wallace column: Manchester United are top but does Solskjaer have an identifiable philosophy?

The key to triumph for successive title-winning managers in the Premier League over the post-Ferguson years has been an unmistakeable strategy and its meticulous prosecution. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s teams’ recent dominance has been about monopolising the ball and doing just about everything in the opposition half. It was a different style with Jose Mourinho, and then Antonio Conte, and clearly so with Claudio Ranieri, but all of them managed it for a period of time long enough to win.
What has happened in recent meetings?

United have not won a league game at Anfield since Wayne Rooney scored the winner five years ago under Louis van Gaal, but Solskjaer has avoided defeat against Klopp in both his league games at Old Trafford. Last season, Liverpool’s 2-0 victory at Anfield was sealed by a late Mohamed Salah goal and was a crucial step to winning the league title.

What are the odds?

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  • Liverpool Evs
  • Manchester United 5/2
  • Draw 14/5

What’s our prediction?

Liverpool are struggling away from home but have performed well at Anfield, beating Tottenham, Wolves, Leicester and Arsenal on their home patch already this season. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are due a more productive day and despite United’s capacity to score goals when you least expect it, we fancy Liverpool to show their strength. 

Verdict: Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1