Manchester United may be “vulnerable”, particularly at the back, but Liverpool are “in a fragile state and not the greatest form” heading into a crunch clash at Anfield, admits Jason McAteer.
Liverpool are the defending Premier League champions and the favourites for many to defend that crown in 2021.
United, though, have overcome questions of consistency and leadership to make their way to the top of the table, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now looking down on the rest of the division.
McAteer is not convinced that they deserve that standing, but the former Liverpool midfielder concedes that Jurgen Klopp’s men are not in the best of shapes either, telling FreeSuperTips: “Even if ManchesterUnited were to go to Anfield on Sunday and beat Liverpool, the Premier League title isn’t won in January so I’m sure there won’t be too much panicaround Liverpool.
“Liverpoolare in a fragile state and not in the greatest form. This is dueto physical and mental tirednessasthe squadis stretched withso manyinjuries.
“The one thing that worries me about Manchester United iseven thoughthey don’t havethe best team or that great of a squad,defensively they are so vulnerable – theyhave the worst defensive record out of the top 11 teams, conceding 24 goals – they’re grindingout results,similarly to the Burnley victory on Tuesday nightwhich bodes well for them.
“ManchesterUnited haven’t faced any realinjuryadversities this season.Ole Gunnar Solskjær hasalways been able to pick from a big poolof playersand he’s not lost any of hiskey mene.g.,Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire,Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Fred.
“At this current moment in time, Manchester United are doing okay.You can’t deny where they currently are andyouhave to give them some credit for currently sitting on top of the Premier League, which makes this weekend’s match all the more exciting.
“Liverpool have the best home recordand so far United haven’tlost awayfromhome, so it could be a classic, which is something we’ve not had for a long time.”
Liverpool will be without a number of key men once again when they face United, with McAteer admitting that untimely injuries have become a cause for serious concern.
He added: “The fact that Jurgen Klopp has had to keep changingthesquad due to all of the injuriesdisrupts the flow of the team.SinceJurgenKlopp came to Liverpool, the team has had 41 or 42 different centre-back combinations which is phenomenal.
“Jordan Henderson playedat centre-backrecently alongsideFabinho, the two young kids(Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams)have been rotated in and out of the team,and therhythmhas beennon-existent.When you take Fabinho out of the midfield, there is abig gap that forms.Especially when Liverpool play away from home, it entices the oppositionto attackmorewhich makes teams less frightened of asking questions of Liverpool.
“InLiverpool’sgames this season against Everton, Brighton and Fulham, they’vedroppedpoints when usually you feel Liverpool would win.However, in this current climate with the way Liverpoolplay andhow theyareset up away from home,teams are more confident and aren’t as frightened to attackas they were previously.Liverpool have mademistakesand been punished for them.
Source : goal.com