Derby Squads Update
Swedish superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back after missing the EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull. Klopp has playmaker Philippe Coutinho on the bench after being out of action since November with an ankle injury. Sadio Mane is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.
Manchester United: de Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Ander Herrera Carrick, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic, Martial. Subs: Mata, Rooney, Smalling, Blind, Rashford, Romero, Fellaini.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Milner Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can, Firmino, Origi, Lallana. Subs: Karius, Coutinho, Gomez, Sturridge, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria.
Jurgen Klopp says his side are fit and prepared for a "fight" in Sunday's "special" Premier League game against old arch rivals Manchester United. The Reds travel to Old Trafford in fourth in the EPL table without enjoying a win in three matches. However Jose Mourinho's sixth-placed Man Utd side are unbeaten in 15 matches.
Ahead of the match, 49-year-old German Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was asked about the game's significance.
"I hear it when I talk to different people,” said Klopp. “It's very, very big - but my players know their responsibilities."
“We have different things to do. Against Manchester United, we don’t have to think about 80 percent possession because that will not happen. So, we have to think about different things. Even though we have improved in possession this season, we can still be a really good defensive and counter-attacking team, added Klopp. “And that is a really good thing to know when we go to Old Trafford. We are really looking forward to it because we feel we can still cause problems with a well-organized formation.”
Liverpool are eight points behind leaders Chelsea. The Reds’ most recent match was a 1-0 defeat by Southampton in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg, which Klopp said they could have lost by more.
"Because of our last game it is like, 'oh my God, and now it's Manchester United - but we will be competitive," said Klopp. "There is a moment when you realize this is really different, but we will realize too that we are Liverpool, so let's show this. Everyone who wants to see a real fight for a result, yeah, watch it. It is a special game."
Liverpool Provisional Squad
Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Can, Firmino, Lallana, Coutinho, Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Gomez, Moreno, Lucas, Stewart, Origi, Sturridge, Woodburn.
United are five points behind Liverpool on the Premier League table, and beat Hull 2-0 in their ninth victory in a row in thire EFL Cup semi-final first leg. By winning three points on Sunday, Man Utd potentially can break into the EPL Table's top four for the first time since September. Paul Pogba is optimistic and wants to go for all three points.
"You have to believe," said Pogba. "We are not far. I know Chelsea are at the top but this is the Premier League, you never know what is going to happen. You have to keep fighting and believing. Inside, I feel we can still win the league. The team is getting better and better. We all know each other now so we feel much better than we did at the start of the season."
"Nobody is nervous, everybody wants to play," said 53-year-old Portuguese Mourinho. "I am sure Jurgen is the same and Liverpool's players are the same, so let's make a big match. It is three points, plus the emotional side of it. The fans understand the feeling better than I do - but I've been here for a few months and I understand the dimension of this rivalry. Now it is just a question of them trying to give us extra in a match that for them means a little bit more. They have to make us feel that feeling."
Mourinho told the 76,000 fans planning to attend the clash that they can make the difference.
“In modern football, there is no more intimidating. These guys are used to strong atmospheres. I don’t think it will affect Liverpool players. My opinion, a strong atmosphere from our fans cannot intimidate Liverpool players,” said Mourinho. “I think it can give something more to our players. We went to Anfield and no influence on us, not at all. Influence on them. This is what Old Trafford can give to our boys. This little extra. Liverpool comes here with stability and to follow Jurgen’s game plan. I think they will play their game. Our boys with a special support can have a special performance.”
Sunday’s clash between the league’s second and sixth-placed titan clubs is still seen by fans of United and Liverpool as the biggest game of the season.
Mourinho said United are still the star attraction.
“I know Manchester United is the biggest club in this country,” said Mourinho. “That I know, you know, everybody knows. I’m sorry, it’s easy to know. For sure it’s a big, big match and people around the world will look to this match.”
Manchester United Provisional squad
De Gea, Romero, Valencia, Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Darmian, Shaw, Blind, Young, Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Rashford, Ibrahimovic, Rooney.
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