Manchester United-Liverpool Preview
Jurgen Klopp has praised Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes, as defending Premier League champions Liverpool prepare to take on the current top-flight leaders.
United visit Anfield on Sunday as the league's top team, sitting three points clear of the Reds.
Key to United's rise has been Fernandes, who has been in sensational form since signing from Sporting CP in January 2020. Since his debut on February 1 last year, United have won more points than any other team in the top flight (68), with the playmaker having been involved in a league-high 33 goals (19 scored, 14 assisted).
"He's an outstanding player. Before he joined United we played Sporting in the USA on tour," Klopp said. "In that game already you could see... wow! You could really see he was a difference maker and that's what he shows now.
"He's settled and is a very influential player now for United. He's involved in a lot of things. I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements, which is very important stuff, but he's a link-up in lot of other situations as well.
"I don't know him well enough to really judge but he seems to be a leader as well. So he was a good signing, unfortunately, for United."
Though United would move six points clear of Liverpool, who have not lost at Anfield in the league since April 2017, with a win, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted his team cannot be considered favourites.
"Being of course where we are in the league, that gives us more confidence, it's a sign, indication of where we're at," he said.
"But it's a game versus the champions, they've an amazing record at Anfield, not lost there in the league for many years, so it's a great test for us. Can we go there and cause an upset?"
Liverpool - Mohamed Salah
The Reds are without a win in their last three league games, failing to score in their last two. Salah was unusually profligate in a draw with Newcastle United at the end of 2020, and could not test Fraser Forster at Southampton. The Egyptian star leads the scoring charts, and will be committed to turning on the style against a title rival.
Manchester United - Marcus Rashford
Rashford has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games against Liverpool, with these goals being worth four points to United. Only Wayne Rooney (six), Andy Cole (four) and Ryan Giggs (four) have scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool for the Red Devils.
•This will be Liverpool manager Klopp's 200th Premier League game in charge - he has won 127 of his 199 games so far, with only Jose Mourinho winning more of his first 200 in the competition's history (137).
•Klopp is also the 10th manager to reach 200 top-flight games for Liverpool, with the German winning more of his first 200 than any of his predecessors.
•United have won none of their three league games against Liverpool with Solskjær as manager (D2 L1) - the only two Red Devils managers to fail to win their first four league games against Liverpool are John Chapman (1921-26) and Tommy Docherty (1973-76).
•Liverpool had eight shots on target in their 7-0 victory at Crystal Palace last month (14 shots in total). In their three league games since, the Reds have managed just seven shots on target (from 45 in total), netting just one goal.
•United have had just 77 shots in their last 11 Premier League games against Liverpool, failing to register double figures for attempts since December 2014 (11). At Anfield, the Red Devils haven't had as many as 10 shots since September 2013 under David Moyes (10).
Updated January 15, 2021