Match of weekend preview

Mon 10 Dec by Mark Gleeson


Two managers with over-sized personalities will dominate the build-up to Sunday’s clash between Liverpool and Manchester United as Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho go head-to-head in another key Premier League clash.Klopp has the best record of any top coach against Mourinho, who despite a difficult time at Manchester United still boasts a formidable history against his rival managers, having had the measure of most of the top coaches in the game.Sunday’s match at Anfield is the 10th time the two pit their wits against each other. The Liverpool boss has won three of nine matches against Mourinho's teams, losing twice. The first defeat came after his Borussia Dortmund side had beaten Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg and so progressed in the Champions League anyway despite going down 2-0.The second loss was the last clash between the two clubs in the league in March when Marcus Rashford’s two early goals ensured the Red Devils went on to a 2-1 victory in front of almost 75,000 at Old Trafford.This next meeting is vital for both. For Liverpool could prove a stumbling block as they sit on the top of the Premier League standings, still unbeaten and profiting from Manchester City’s loss to Chelsea on Saturday.The pressure is now on the Merseysiders to take advantage of the situation but the burden of expectation, plus the quality of their opposition, is a possible undoing.Liverpool will also be mindful that any points dropped will allow Manchester City a chance to go back top, as they are expected to win at home against Everton, even if punters might be tempted to bet on a draw.Man United might have won against Fulham last Saturday as expected but it was a major confidence booster for them. They played without pressure in scoring three first half goals, looking unburdened for the first time in a long while and will go to Anfield in much more buoyant mood than they might have had they struggled again last weekend.Third placed Tottenham should win at home to Burnley and fourth placed Chelsea away at Brighton. It might be a bit tougher, however, for fifth placed Arsenal at Southampton, who play at home for the first time under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.