Manchester United will face Liverpool at the Old Trafford Stadium in a second-leg premier league encounter where it seems too obvious that both sides need a victory. But the big question is “Who really need the victory?” In the analysis below, Joseph Odoekwu looks at the issue.
Both sides are currently in the top four, with United becoming the newest to join after Ole guided his side to record victory in 11 of his United’s premier league matches since taking over as interim manager in December 2018.
The performance of United in the premier league under the Norwegian, suggests that United who performed below the bar under former manager Jose Mourinho are willing to give it all and maintain their position in the top four irrespective of their meeting against a Liverpool side that once appeared dreaded.
In fact, it was after United’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield that led to the sack of the former manager, with the Norwegian coming to give the Old Trafford side a fresh breath of life. Maybe that could be just the reason winning the match against Liverpool is so important to United.
Aside that, a win against Liverpool also guarantees United a flee from Arsenal and Chelsea who appear close to Ole’s team. As Chelsea and Arsenal will be looking up to Liverpool to do them a favour by beating United while they get a win and sneak back to the top four.
However, Liverpool who started well and enjoyed a 20-match unbeaten run under Klopp suddenly lost grip of the top position after suffering their first defeat against Man City at the Etihad Stadium. Liverpool where 7 points before the match, they needed just a draw but losing made things more difficult for them.
More so, even when City lost by 2-1 to Newcastle in a midweek clash with Liverpool having a match the next day against West Ham, many had expected Liverpool to get the victory and increase the gap lead between them and the defending champions, but Liverpool were subjected to a 1-1 draw leading to another drop in point after a previous 1-1 draw against Leicester City at Anfield.
Technically speaking, Liverpool have lost grip of the top position even though it may be difficult for them to lose the top four position. A win means they will go back to the top, but that may seem a bit difficult for a once dreaded side that have scored an average of 1.8 goals in their last five games since losing to City at the Etihad Stadium.
While both sides need a victory in the clash, it is actually United who need it more. Considering the fact that they need to get their pound of flesh from their first-leg loss which led to the sack of their former manager and prove to their fans that what really happened in their first-leg match was a mirage.