🔴 Liverpool vs Man United: Key battles expected at Anfield on Sunday
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🔴 Liverpool vs Man United: Key battles expected at Anfield on Sunday

The English Premier League enters matchday 18 this weekend with nine matches on the cards spread across three days. 

Among them is a top-of-the-table clash as Liverpool host Manchester United in a fixture that needs little or no introduction. 

The two have been in top form, and particularly Ole Gunnars Solskajer's Reds, who are arguably the most in-form team in the league. 

The match could have a significant impact in the title race, with Pep Guardiola's Man City lurking just behind the two sides. 

Ahead of the match at Anfield, we look at where the key battles lie, those that can easily decide the match. 

Harry Maguire vs Roberto Firmino

Liverpool forwards work interchangeably, but naturally, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane pull wide of Roberto Firmino through the centre. 

The Brazilian will come up against the United defense, and Harry Maguire in particular. With Victor Lindelof a doubt due to his recurring back problem, Maguire could be partnered alongside Eric Bailly, who has been impressive in the few games he has been called upon. 

Bailly, just like Lindelof loves a tackle and his no-nonsense approach is a key element of his overall game. 

The two though will need to work collectively against one of the Premier League's most intelligent strikers. 

Andy Robertson vs Marcus Rashford

With Liverpool missing their natural defenders, Jurgen Klopp will be pleased to have a well-rested Andy Robertson at his natural left-back position. 

The defender has arguably been one of Liverpool's best players this season, and together with Trent Alexandre-Arnold on the side, will be the hosts' main weapons going forward, just like they've been from last season. 

Robertson will come up against an in-form Marcus Rashford who can be slippery with his pace and trickery. 

The formation Solskjaer adopts at Anfield though will determine if the Englishman will be forced to track back to help his side defend, which can also play into Liverpool's hands. 

Whatever happens, expect an exciting battle on the left flank. 

Thiago Alcantara vs Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has become central to the way United play ever since he arrived at Old Trafford in January 2020. 

With 11 goals and seven assists in the league this season, Fernandes is one of the most in-form players in the top-flight and will be crucial when Solskajer's side line-up at Anfield. 

A creator, and goalscorer, Fernandes will look to both dictate the tempo of the game and provide the killer passes in the final third. 

Lining up against the Portuguese international will be the returning Thiago Alcantara, whose first few months in England have been disrupted by a knee injury. 

He, however, started in Liverpool's last match, a 1-0 loss to Southampton, and will be raring to go against Man United, a side he was linked with during the summer. 

The Spaniard will be tasked with picking the lock of the Red Devils’ defense, and you can bet he can get it done. 

He is known for his eye for the perfect pass, and the Reds' frontline will largely benefit from this and can provide the answer to his opposite number in Fernandes. 

It will be an exciting battle that can easily decide the match. 

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