Manchester United are desperate for a win.
Their first two matches were both losses against teams they were expected to beat, and the only goal they scored in those matches was an own goal. They’ve hardly looked threatening, and this preview (more brief than the first two weeks) will reflect that. The vibes are in the mud at the moment, and even a so far sloppy Liverpool side should be able to take advantage.
Liverpool are a team who have twice put up over 90 points and still lost the title in the last few seasons. They’re a constant force in the Premier League and in Europe, and won both domestic cup competitions last season.
And yet, so far this season they’ve lacked something.
A Darwin Nunez red card hindered their hopes of completing a comeback win against Crystal Palace last week, and a Mitrovic brace kept them to just a point at Craven Cottage on opening weekend. They’re a bit shaky in defense so far, but is it enough for United to exploit?
One thing for certain is that Liverpool will pounce effectively against any half-focused play out from the back like we saw last week. When the press is triggered United have to be smarter with finding outlets. Packing it in may not be out of the question, but Erik ten Hag has so far been insistent on playing his way. Long balls and compact defensive play may not fit the plan.
Liverpool are likely to control the bulk of possession regardless of the approach, and there have been very few signs to suggest United’s midfield are up for the task of shutting them down. Eriksen will have only one more week as the deepest midfielder with Casemiro on his way, and it’s against one of the best teams United will play all season.
Liverpool will also have the more seasoned front three of Diaz-Firmino-Salah rather than the continued process of breaking in Darwin Nunez, who is suspended for a funny headbutt. The expectation should be that their stability and their expertise at forcing and punishing turnovers in dangerous areas will be the difference on Monday.
Manchester United’s slim hopes
Maybe they can get something on the break? Catch Trent out of position on a counter and get something from a Rashford-Martial-Sancho front three? Tony is back from his hamstring injury, maybe he gets the start over Ronaldo.
If they can get any sort of contribution in midfield they could get something from this, but they’ll be absolutely torn apart if they’re as careless with possession as they were against Brentford.
Idk it’s pretty bleak, my dudes.
Manchester United 0-5 Liverpool
Manchester United’s best hopes may be my predicting them to get slaughtered. I predicted them to get wins in each of their first two games and it has gone atrociously. So this week my actual prediction is also my hope I can shift the universe prediction.
Sports works like that right? Jinx and whatnot?
Anyway, here goes nothing.