(1) After completing an emphatic comeback in the F.A. Cup fifth-round fixture against West Ham, Manchester United travel to Anfield as rivals Liverpool await them in a much-anticipated encounter.
(2) Manchester United edged closer to another Wembley final in their last outing. After clinching the EFL Cup against a lacklustre Newcastle United side, the Quadruple dreams are still alive. Manager Erik Ten Hag has downplayed such ambitions from the fans and though the league would be a tough accolade, the Europa League and F.A. Cup are the favourites to be in the bag by the end of the season.
(3) It seemed as though United were heading out of the F.A. Cup prematurely after Said Benrahma gave The Hammerers the lead in the 54th minute. The Reds kept on pushing and David Moyes’ side triggered their self-destructive mode when new signing Nayef Aguerd’s header ended up as an own goal in the 77th minute. It was not long after the equaliser that teenage sensation Alejandro Garnacho made his mark by curling the ball past goalkeeper Areola into the net in the 90th minute. Midfielder Fred sealed the victory for the hosts in added time as Weghorst grabbed an assist for his efforts.
(4) Here’s how manager Erik Ten Hag previewed the vital clash against Liverpool:
“I’m looking forward [to it], I know the ambience, the atmosphere will be great. It will be hostile against us, and we like it.
“It is, of course, a test. But we’re facing Liverpool and we’re really looking forward [to it], I know these players, my squad, my team will be prepared to go and fight, to go with confidence but we know it’s going to be difficult.
“We know we have to suffer, we have to sacrifice to get a good result.”
(5) French striker Anthony Martial is ruled out of this game as he continues his recovery from a hip injury which has kept him sidelined since February. Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek face the same circumstances.
(6) The Dutch manager expects Luke Shaw to be back after a minor issue kept the left-back out of the F.A. Cup clash. Jadon Sancho was ill last time and his presence still remains uncertain.
“I think we will have players back,” Erik told journalists on Thursday. “Yesterday Luke Shaw was not available, so we expect him back.
“Sancho was ill, but we will have to wait and see how that develops but I think [he could be available] as well.”
(7) Meanwhile, Liverpool are experiencing an uncharacteristic season in which they have even tumbled to 10th place. Despite their horrific start to the season, Jurgen Klopp has started to turn things around and the Merseyside Reds expected themselves to finish in the top-4 this season.
(8) Pundits and Liverpool’s fans alike feel that defeating Man United would be massive for their season as the three points can quickly compensate for the deficit and things would be back on track. Despite picking up two consecutive wins in mid-February, Liverpool’s form soon fell when they lost a two-goal lead as Real Madrid made history at Anfield by scoring past five against them. The debacle was followed by a draw with Crystal Palace but they soon recovered form by winning the reverse against Wolves.
(9) Some big squad news struck Liverpool fans this week as Roberto Firmino looks set to leave the club this summer:
(10) Jurgen Klopp ruled out Luis Diaz, Thiago and Joe Gomez for the clash. He said:
“A lot of things can happen overnight but yesterday evening they were all fine, apart from the players who are out, like Thiago and Luis Diaz,”
“Joe is closer but not close enough.”
(11) Klopp hailed Marcus Rashford as one of the best game-changers in the Premier League as he remarked:
“He obviously had a really difficult last year where he was not performing on the level he’s able to perform. This will change again but sometimes in life you don’t have enough time to change but now he’s playing incredible – the speed, the technique, the mix of everything. How calm he is now in front of the goal. He scores worldies and he scores the simple ones, he’s there and he puts his head in.”
Quotes are obtained from the official website of Manchester United.