38 mins: Liverpool have enjoyed two thirds of possession, helping them to create 13 shots at goal but only two have been on target. United are yet to have a shot on target.
36 mins: Diaz glides past Amrabat who pulls him back to earn himself a booking. That’s both of United’s defensive midfielders in the book now with 55 minutes to go.
The free-kick is lifted into the box and headed out to Gravenberch on the edge of the box. He volleys it straight back but sees his shot deflected wide. The resulting corner is attacked by Konate but he heads over from six yards.
34 mins: Alexander-Arnold lets a simple pass roll under his foot and out for a throw. Liverpool must be a little frustrated that they have not tested Onana too much despite their dominance.
32 mins: Anfield seems a little quiet. Have United won the first battle by keeping Liverpool at bay for half an hour? The next step for United to threaten in the final third.
30 mins: Peter Oh says: “The sight of United’s teenage midfielder stooping to tie his bootlaces just a few minutes into the match took me back. Picture this. It’s 2009. Fernando Torres is bearing down on the United goal with the nearest defender getting caught up in the wheels of El Niño’s chariot. Somewhere in Manchester, the Mainoo family is watching as Liverpool equalise on the way to an emphatic win. Young Kobbie shakes his head in dismay and turns his attention back to practising shoelace-tying.” I didn’t see this email ending here.
28 mins: Mainoo joins Nunez in the book with a late sliding challenge on Endo.
Liverpool win their seventh corner of the match. Alexander-Arnold lands it perfectly on Van Dijk’s head but it goes straight at Onana, who tips over.
26 mins: Martin Lancon calls for Nunez to be off: “Yellow for foul, yellow for kicking the ball away, ( CF v Bournemouth last week) yellow for applauding referee’s decision?”
He has a point …
24 mins: Antony tries to slip the ball through the Liverpool defence but it is blocked by Endo’s arm. The referee does not spot the infringement, however, much to United’s chagrin.
I don’t think Hojlund has touched the ball yet.
22 mins: Nunez is penalised by the assistant referee for barging into Evans’ ribs without making an attempt to win the ball. He is rightly given a yellow card before moaning about the decision.
20 mins: Liverpool are all over United and must take great pleasure whenever they give their opponents a goal kick. The latest ends well for United as Onana drops the shoulder to send Nunez the wrong way.
18 mins: United have already caused themselves a few problems with their inability to play the ball out from the back. It does not seem to be a sensible ploy to use.
Diaz drifts across the pitch with the ball at his feet before laying it off to Salah, who cuts in but his shot is blocked by Shaw.
16 mins: Lordy! Alexander-Arnold lifts a cross to the back post from the right. Nunez heads it down towards Gravenberch and Diaz but neither can turn the ball goalwards and United scramble it behind.
14 mins: Antony controls a throw-in from Dalot and looks to pass it back to the full-back but he’s run off and the ball goes out of play. Neither are happy with the end result.
12 mins: Szoboszlai receives the ball from Diaz in the middle of the pitch, he gets the ball out of his feet and takes aim from 30 yards but his shot flies well over the bar. I think Liverpool are keen to test Onana early on.
10 mins: Onana receives a backpass from Varane and almost trips over the ball but he does manage to get rid. I think there are a few nerves within the United team.
United move the ball quickly and it reaches McTominay on the edge of the box, he lays it off to Garnacho who cuts in and fires wide.
8 mins: United have barely left their half. Antony gets to the edge of the box and does his traditional attempt to curl the ball into the far corner but Tsimikas blocks it.
6 mins: Liverpool win two corners in quick succession. The second goes deep to the back post, via Varane’s head, where Salah is waiting, he chests it down and takes aim but his shot goes just wide.
United try to play it out from the back and it goes badly wrong as Amrabat is tackled facing his own goal but the ball goes out for a goal-kiick. They might need a plan B.
4 mins: Endo drives into the box but is held up by McTominay. We are not a long way into this match but Liverpool are certainly on top.
In other news … the United team coach was damaged on the way into Anfield.
A Liverpool statement read: “Liverpool Football Club utterly condemns the actions that led to damage being caused to the Manchester United team bus during its arrival at Anfield this afternoon. We are aware of footage of the incident circulating online and are working with Merseyside Police, to fully investigate and identify those responsible. Any individuals found guilty of this reprehensible behaviour will also face the full force of the Club’s sanction process.”
2 mins: Liverpool go straight at United, they can sense weakness. Tsimikas wins a corner on the left within 20 seconds. The ball is just about cleared out the box but a late challenge on Gravenberch by Amrabat gifts Liverpool a free-kick in a dangerous position. Tsimikas whips it in, Onana gets nowhere near ir and needs Amrabat to whack the ball off the line.
Peep! Peep! Peep! Here we go!
There are 57,000 inside Anfield as part of their stadium expansion is now open. The biggest crowd at the ground in 50 years.
Sir Alex Ferguson is at Anfield, a reminder of better times.
Jurgen Klopp: “It is a huge opportunity. We have to play an extremely good game, if not United will be there.
“They will be more motivated after the 7-0 defeat. They will not want to feel like that again. It is long ago, who cares about that? We need to focus on this game.”
Justin Kavanagh is offering free advice to the United hierarchy: “If United do decide to let Ten Hag go, the only coach I can think of who might make a winning proposition of this current rabble is Lionel Scaloni. He inherited an Argentina squad which, despite having a wealth of talent, hadn’t won anything for years and he somehow turned them into Copa America and World champions. He’s recently threatened to walk away from the national job, probably fed up with the internal politics … so he’d have good experience of the mess he’d walk into at Old Trafford, if he could be persuaded. Of course, United fans should remember … he probably won’t be able to sign Lionel Messi.”
Ten Hag on naming McTominay captain: “He is one of the examples of what it means to play for Manchester United, to play with the badge on his heart. The others can follow his example. I’m sure he will be a communicator; I’m sure he will be an example of passion and desire. You need that in this game.
On Rashford: “He was ill and is not fully back in terms of power and strength but he can come on and make an impact.”
Marcus Rashford returns following illness but only makes the bench. If United stay in the game, he could make a difference in the second half.
Josh Holtby offers a rallying cry: “I really feel for Ten Hag. He’s clearly a great coach; Ajax and a first (admittedly the least important) piece of silverware and top four finish last season the evidence for this.
”So what’s gone wrong? An awful injury list hasn’t helped, and he’s still fixing a mismatched squad of varying quality and commitment, but you simply cannot overestimate the unsettling effect of the ‘strategic review’ in all of this. Imagine how paralysing this must be for the club’s senior leadership team. Even now, with only one buyer and a year’s due diligence, the ‘sale’ is still a perpetual week away. And even then, it still leaves the dead hand of the Glazers firmly on the club as facilities crumble and that overall leadership is as absent as goals from the strikers this term.
”So give ETH some support. He’s already shown the inner strength some supposed big names lacked, and when the luck changes (it will) he’ll be alright.”
Not sure I have ever known expectations to be this low for Manchester United. Ten Hag was asked at his press conference if he would take a 2-0 or 3-0 defeat. I suspect a few fans would accept it now.
“Let’s play the “who gets in the other team” game!” says gamesmaster Luke Jones. “I’d say from Manchester United, Hojlund would have the best chance of making the Liverpool squad, certainly with Jota out. Maybe Shaw would make the bench too? The other way around, Endo is the only LFC player who wouldn’t certainly walk into the United starting lineup.”
“Maybe I’m just too superstitious,” says Henry Flory, “but given that no one expects anything from Man U, their whinger/creator-in-chief is out, and Liverpool have been pretty stodgy of late, I’m expecting a very close game. Especially since last year’s humiliation was actually much closer than the eventual score suggests …
”If only I were able to watch!”
The latest on Lockyer.
Karen As’adi emails: “I hardly think Ten Hag is the one who’s going to take us to the promised land but alternative would be another Rangnik-esque season, simply because there’s not really a good option right now. So let’s keep him this season, if it didn’t work out maybe we can entice De Zerbi in the summer. But more important things must change first.”
A good time to chuck out my Mainoo piece from a couple of weeks back. United think he is rather good.
Jonny Evans starts at centre-back, Mainoo in midfield and Hojlund gets the nod up top. Will Liverpool be worried? I doubt.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Szoboszlai, Endo, Gravenberch; Salah, Nunez, Diaz.
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Gomez, Jones, Elliott, Gakpo, McConnell, Quansah, Bradley,
Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Evans, Shaw; Amrabat, Mainoo, McTominay; Antony, Hojlund, Garnacho
Subs: Bayindir, Kambwala, Reguilon, Wan-Bissaka, Gore, Hannibal, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Rashford
Who will start for United? No one knows.
Jeff Sax has been in touch: “Ten Hag is not up for the job. The results show it and all the articles written in your paper explain it. Put us all out of our misery and let him go!”
Maybe today is the day he turns it around.
Rumours surfacing that McTominay will be captain in Fernandes’ absence. What a turnaround for him at Old Trafford. Ten Hag was happy for him to be sold in the summer and now he is one of United’s most important players.
Liverpool are certainly on a roll. I was at their home game against Fulham where they managed to secure a late win through Trent Alexander-Arnold. They were not a their best but Klopp was able to tweak things throughout the game to give Liverpool an edge, moving Alexander-Arnold from right-back to central midfield. This level of adaptability is really helping Liverpool progress this season.
An update on Tom Lockyer’s condition from Luton: “While our captain Tom Lockyer remains in hospital following the cardiac arrest he suffered on the pitch at Bournemouth yesterday, we understand that supporters are concerned for him and that there is widespread media interest in his condition. Tom is still undergoing tests and scans, and is awaiting the results before the next steps for his recovery are determined. We are unable to provide a running commentary on his situation, and request that all media please wait for any updates to be released via the club’s official channels when the time is right. We all want the very best for Tom, his partner Taylor and the whole Lockyer family, and politely ask that his and their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”
Alternatively, get my words on Liverpool and United from this morning’s paper.
Get in the mood with some pure Jonathan Wilson …
How will United line up? I will take a punt at … Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Dalot, Mainoo, Amrabata, McTominay, Antony, Garnacho, Rashford.
I seem to remember this game being quite a momentous one last season. Can anyone remember the score? Oh yes, it was 7-0 to Liverpool. Things had looked so good for Erik ten Hag until that point but it really was a complete and utter humiliation that day for his not-so-brave boys. The previous weekend was a triumphant one as they lifted the League Cup but they still failed miserably against a Liverpool that would go on to finish fifth.
Coming into this fixture is a greater worry for Ten Hag with his side enjoying their season-long crisis. Their past two matches resulted in a 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth and being dumped out of the Champions League. They are are without their captain through suspension and have a lengthy injury list. The signs are not good.
The worse news for United is that table-toppers Liverpool are really good at football. Summer signings have settled quickly and proving Jurgen Klopp could have another tilt at the title. Liverpool have won every game at home this season and they will not be fearful of their opponents.
It should be an entertaining watch.
Kick-off: 4.30pm GMT