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Starting XI: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

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United could deal a fatal blow to Liverpool’s Champions League hopes with a result on Thursday

Manchester United fan protest - Old Trafford Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

Everything that you need to know ahead of Thursday’s match:

(1) Manchester United and Liverpool finally face off on Thursday night after the original match was called off due to fan protests against the Glazers. This will now be United’s third match in just five days.

(2) The Reds enter this rescheduled grudge match off the back of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City. Because of the compressed schedule, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made ten changes to his side — with only Mason Greenwood keeping his place. Not surprisingly, United looked disjointed and managed just one shot on goal in the entire match. One would assume that the rested regulars will be back on Thursday for Liverpool’s visit.

(3) Before the Leicester match, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided a short update on Harry Maguire, seemingly ruling him out for the foreseeable future:

He’s obviously had the scans and the good news is there is no fracture. [There’s] ligament damage, but hopefully we’ll see him again this season. Hopefully, he’ll be ready for the [Europa League] final.

(4) On Monday, Edinson Cavani signed a one-year contract extension, spurning a longer offer from Boca Juniors to remain at Old Trafford for another season.

(5) Liverpool are not exactly making the most of their title defense. Last season’s runaway winners now find themselves at least seven points off the final Champions League spot and face the very real possibility of Thursday nights in the Europa League next year. Their deficit could get even worse if Chelsea defeat Arsenal on Wednesday night.

(6) Jurgen Klopp’s side defeated Southampton 2-0 on Saturday, but it was hardly a convincing performance against one of the Premier League’s worst teams. Alisson made six saves, including one incredible second-half stop with the score still 1-0, to preserve the clean sheet and keep Liverpool’s faint Champions League hopes alive.

(7) Liverpool’s front three, so ruthless in front of goal over the past few seasons, are some ways off their best. Mohamed Salah has scored 29 goals — fifteen more than any other Liverpool player — but has let the club down with some glaring misses in big games. That’s still better than Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, though, who are both in massive slumps.

(8) Klopp on Liverpool’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League:

Winning four games is pretty much the only chance we have, but that is what we should try. It will be difficult, but it is what we must try.

(9) To be fair, there have been a lot of injuries. Virgil Van Dijk went down early on with a serious knee injury and Joe Gomez picked up a similar knock in November while with England. Both are out for the season, leaving Liverpool’s backline severely stretched. It’s gotten even worse as Joel Matip suffered a season-ending ankle injury and Nat Phillips has bounced in and out of the lineup with injuries. Then, in February, captain Jordan Henderson hurt his groin in the Merseyside derby and has not played since.

(10) And it looks like Liverpool’s defensive woes just got worse:

(11) Some happy reading: Liverpool have not won at Old Trafford under Jurgen Klopp in six tries. If that doesn’t change on Thursday, Liverpool will likely find themselves on the outside looking in on next season’s Champions League.