Liverpool vs. Man United: Opposition Analysis

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Liverpool and Manchester United stand ninth and sixth, respectively, in Barclays Premier League. A difference of a single win sets them apart on the league table. However, the points will not play the decisive factor between the two teams by the end of the season, from our standpoint.

There is no denying the fact that both the sides are struggling at the moment and are in dire need of players who can be trusted for goal scoring prospects. So far, Benteke with 6 goals, while Rooney and Martial with 5 goals each are top scorers for their respective teams in the current season.

Let’s break down each team’s stats and figures with respect to their attack and derive from it how Klopp XI and Van Gaal XI might be performing at Anfield on January 17th.

LIVERPOOL – THE REDS:

While talking about the attacking form of Liverpool, the names of Firmino and Coutinho immediately pop up in heads. The attacking duo have been fast and relentless whenever they have driven down the opposition’s half. However, going by statistics, Coutinho is not as aggressive as Firmino in making runs. The Brazilian professional (Coutinho) has provided 5 assists in the season thus far, two less than his counterpart and the compatriot.

He is kind of attacking playmaker who feeds the strikers. Little Brazilian does shoot the ball often and shoots them really well.  The Midfielder might not start the game tomorrow, but it is expected that he will get a good amount of time on the pitch.

On the other hand, Firmino is more ambitious and confident in his runs and likes to dribble. We have witnessed his goal scoring ability against Manchester City and Arsenal. He can shoot from outside the box and is perfectly capable of controlling the ball inside the penalty area and striking for goal. The former Fiqueirense midfielder has 3 goals in 18 EPL League appearances in the season so far.

Benteke, the leading scorer for Liverpool with 6 goals and 2 assists in the league, has been quite sharp in the 18 games he has played in the season. The Belgian professional is the only player who has scored for the Reds the last time they met United at Old Trafford.

However, the real powerhouse of Liverpool attack has been Milner. The ex-city midfielder amasses 4 assists in BPL and is the leading assist maker for the Reds. Milner has created 34 chances and made 30 key passes, far more than any other Liverpool player. But this is not anything unexpected.

He joined Liverpool mainly because he wanted to contribute more in the midfield and needed more time on the pitch that was not going to happen as long as he stayed at City. He is one player who has been there for City on every platform and knows how to work out big guns like United.

MANCHESTER UNITED – RED DEVILS:

By bringing in Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay, United made their intentions of strengthening the squad with raw attacking talent. The beginning was not too bad for the starlets, but the duo failed to keep the momentum and are now struggling with their goal scoring prowess.

Martial has been more consistent as he has netted 5 and assisted 2 compared with Depay’s two. The Dutch professional may not be much of a threat, but Martial can be considered dangerous. The France International has already proved that he can take on multiple defenders at any given time and provide his team with the necessary breakthrough. He scored one of the 3 goals the last time they met Liverpool in the league and carried a serious goal threat.

Talking about the veterans, Rooney has not been in his prime form this season. Mata, on the other hand, has 4 goals and 3 assists to his name, as compared to 5 goals and 2 assists from Rooney’s end. Rooney does need a solid partner in the midfield and at the front. To be fair to him, Mata and the other compatriots have not been that stable.

VERDICT:

United have racked up a total of 27 League goals while the Reds have 25 in their basket. The Red Devils, however, lag way behind in creating chances as their current tally is 170 while Liverpool have amassed 274.

These statistics speaks volumes about the lack of bite in the United’s attack, and if Liverpool strikers can click in this game, they win the battle at Anfield.

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