Liver­pool out to halt United’s charge in An­field show­down

Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS - (Reuters) PREMIER LEAGUE GP W D L GF GA Pts

Liver­pool and Manch­ester United’s globe-trot­ting squads must shake off the ef­fects of in­ter­na­tional duty for one of English foot­ball’s most ea­gerly-an­tic­i­pated clashes on Satur­day.

Ac­cord­ing to Sky Sports their play­ers clocked up 139,000 miles tak­ing part in World Cup qualifiers since the last Premier League ac­tion, but all roads lead to An­field as the English top flight re­sumes af­ter a two-week hia­tus with a po­ten­tial cracker.

The stop­page was badly-timed for United which won its last three Premier League games with nine goals scored and none con­ceded, al­beit against sides in the lower half of the ta­ble.

Jose Mour­inho’s side, joint lead­ers on 19 points from seven games with Manch­ester City, will hope to con­tinue that mo­men­tum in what will be its big­gest test of the sea­son to date.

Liver­pool’s form has been less im­pres­sive and Juer­gen Klopp’s side, be­set by de­fen­sive prob­lems, is seven points off the sear­ing pace be­ing set by the two Manch­ester ri­vals.

Liver­pool is also with­out a Premier League vic­tory over bit­ter ad­ver­saries United in their last six meet­ings but Mour­inho says re­cent his­tory will have no bear­ing on Satur­day.

“These kind of matches, ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment plays a part,” Mour­inho told Sky Sports. “We are play­ing against a good team with very good play­ers. Form doesn’t mat­ter, the mo­ment doesn’t mat­ter. It’s a match of three points.”

United will be miss­ing mid­fielder Marouane Fel­laini, who hurt his knee play­ing for Bel­gium against Bos­nia, while Paul Pogba is still ab­sent with an in­jury.

Liver­pool has a po­ten­tially more sig­nif­i­cant ab­sen­tee, how­ever, with for­ward Sa­dio Mane fac­ing a six-week lay­off af­ter in­jur­ing his ham­string rep­re­sent­ing Sene­gal. A NEW CHAPTER In the ri­valry be­tween Liver­pool man­ager Juer­gen Klopp (right) and Manch­ester United boss Jose Mour­inho will be writ­ten on Satur­day when their teams meet at An­field in Premier League ac­tion.

Liver­pool man­ager Juer­gen Klopp has three wins to his name with three other games against Mour­inho end­ing in draws - in­clud­ing both Premier League meet­ings last sea­son dur­ing Mour­inho’s first sea­son at the Old Traf­ford helm hav­ing re­placed Louis van Gaal.

The charis­matic Ger­man has clearly en­joyed pit­ting his wits against Mour­inho on the pitch and while there is a healthy re­spect be­tween them, there is also an edge that Satur­day’s north west show­down is likely to sharpen.

Dur­ing the draw at Old Traf­ford in Jan­uary the man­agers con­fronted each other in the tech­ni­cal area with Mour­inho sug­gest­ing af­ter­wards that Klopp con­cen­trate on coach­ing his team rather than wav­ing his arms about.

The pres­ence of Klopp and Mour­inho in ri­val dugouts on Satur­day adds an­other level of in­trigue to a fix­ture be­tween two clubs with 38 league English ti­tles be­tween them.

City, which has built up a goal dif­fer­ence of plus 20 dur­ing a stun­ning start to the cam­paign, hosts Stoke City with striker Ser­gio Aguero pos­si­bly in con­tention for a squad place af­ter re­cov­er­ing from in­jur­ing his ribs in a car ac­ci­dent last month.

Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, in third place, will at­tempt to lay its Wem­b­ley jinx in the league at the fourth time of ask­ing as it host­sBournemouth, while fourth­placed cham­pion Chelsea, beaten by City be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break, visits Crys­tal Palace.

Tooth­less Palace is the first top-flight side to lose is open­ing seven games since Portsmouth in 2009 and the first in 129 years of the Foot­ball League to do so with­out scor­ing.

Fifth-placed Arse­nal is at Wat­ford, while Burn­ley, the sur­prise pack­age so far in sixth, will fancy its chances of when its tack­les West Ham United at Turf Moor.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has leapfrogged Ever­ton’s Ron­ald Koe­man as fa­vorite to be the next man­age­rial ca­su­alty af­ter his side’s woe­ful start. Koe­man’s side trav­els to Brighton & Hove Al­bion on Sun­day. (Reuters)

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