Premier League Sunday preview: United and Liverpool top the bill

Marcus Rashford will be hoping to extend his excellent goalscoring record against Liverpool on Sunday

Marcus Rashford will be hoping to extend his excellent goalscoring record against Liverpool on Sunday

Liverpool’s trip to arch-rivals Manchester United is the highlight of a tasty trio of Premier League contests on Sunday.

The Reds are in dire need of three points after consecutive draws damaged their top-four prospects but are unlikely to get an easy ride from their high-flying old foes.

Either side of that clash, improving Newcastle host Arsenal and Tottenham entertain Sheffield United.

Newcastle vs Arsenal (2pm, Sky Sports)

Newcastle welcome Arsenal to Tyneside with Premier League survival firmly within their grasp following a much-needed recent upturn in results.

Steve Bruce’s Magpies looked in grave danger after March’s 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals Brighton — but a four-game unbeaten run since has powered them clear of the bottom three.

Allan Saint-Maximin’s return from injury has been pivotal, while Gunners loanee Joe Willock has further endeared himself to the Toon Army having struck decisive late goals against Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool.

Unfortunately for Bruce, however, Willock is ineligible to feature against his parent club.

The Gunners are somewhat of a bogey team for Newcastle. They have won 15 of the last 16 league meetings between the sides and only lost one of their last 12 top-flight trips to St James’ Park.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang netted twice in the reverse fixture with Newcastle
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang netted twice in the reverse fixture with Newcastle

Mikel Arteta’s men have struggled to find any kind of consistency this season and their primary focus may well be on next Thursday’s Europa League second-leg clash with Villarreal, having lost 2-1 in Spain in midweek.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has yet to hit double figures this term but did score twice in the reverse fixture against Newcastle, as well as netting in the FA Cup third-round meeting between the two sides.

The hosts are sweating on the fitness of Matt Ritchie (calf), while Alex Lacazette (hamstring) and Kieran Tierney (knee) may both return for the visitors.

Manchester United vs Liverpool (4.30pm, Sky Sports)

Liverpool’s fading hopes of qualifying for the Champions League could be dealt a fatal blow when they visit bitter rivals Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hosts are secure in second and have lost only one of their last 15 home meetings with United, winning 10 of them.

The latest victory came back in January, with a 3-2 FA Cup success making it six winless trips to Old Trafford for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp — but the Red Devils have not managed to win consecutive games against Liverpool in all competitions since 2016.

Eight defeats since the start of 2021 left Klopp’s reigning champions facing the stark reality of missing out on a top-four finish and a recent upturn in form has also been checked.

The Merseysiders had won three straight Premier League games but conceded late equalisers to both Leeds and Newcastle in their most recent encounters, leaving them needing sides above them to drop points.

In terms of men to watch, Marcus Rashford has four goals in as many meetings with Liverpool and visiting forward Mohammed Salah bagged a brace in January’s FA Cup meeting.

Solskjaer may opt to rotate after Thursday’s 6-2 Europa League rout of Roma but Liverpool could be unchanged given none of their injured stars are fit to return.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Sheffield United (7.15pm, Sky Sports)

Ryan Mason is the youngest ever manager in Premier League history
Ryan Mason is the youngest ever manager in Premier League history

Ryan Mason will look to keep up his 100% record as a Premier League manager when Tottenham welcome basement boys Sheffield United.

Spurs ensured caretaker-boss Mason, 29, got his managerial career off to the perfect start when grabbing all three points against Southampton through a stoppage-time Son Heung-Min penalty.

But the North Londoners were unable to extend the fairytale in last weekend’s Carabao Cup final — losing 1-0 to Premier League champions-elect Manchester City.

With 15 points still available however, Spurs retain a realistic chance of gatecrashing the European places and will hope to inflict a 27th defeat of the campaign on relegated Sheffield United.

Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades are not exiting the top tier with a whimper, though, having snatched three points from Brighton last weekend in an excellent performance.

Despite that, keeper Aaron Ramsdale could be set to inherit an unwanted record — a 27th straight away game without a clean sheet would make his the longest such streak in Premier League history.

Spurs are still without Ben Davies (knock) and none of Brighton’s long-term absentees are near a playing return.

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