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Marcus Rashford’s brase gives Manchester United victory over Liverpool

Liverpool will play on white and green

And now Jurgen Klopp, slightly more hyper but smiling nonetheless, has his say: “It’s always the same. You always have to bring through your own skills but you have to respect the quality of your opponent as well. We cannot be blind and go into the game and say come on, let’s play football and enjoy the game … it will be hard work, United is a group of unbelievably strong players. Mata is on the pitch, and he can change the game completely. Rashford’s speed on the wing changes the game a little bit. Lukaku is always a threat. We have to be really strong with and without the ball. I have tried to find a good set-up for this game, a good mixture.”

A relaxed-looking Jose Mourinho speaks to Sky Sports! “Juan Mata offers experience, and has the capacity to move into areas where he can connect our game, because he is very intelligent. Liverpool are a very strong team in fast counter attack, in transition, so the more times we lose the ball, the more chances they have for that transition. If we are more consistent, we try to reduce the possibility of their super-dangerous counter-attack. So let’s see if Mata can help us! They are not the kind of team to sit in a low block waiting for us. Is this aggressive defence? I don’t know. The objective is to be in front of them at the end of the season, not today. We want to win the game. Paul Pogba is injured, yesterday in training. He was in an unlucky situation. I really don’t know when he is back.”

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The big news for Manchester United: there’s no Paul Pogba. Their record signing is out injured, with Juan Mata, who has given Liverpool no little grief in the past, taking his place as midfield schemer. There are two other changes to the XI named at Crystal Palace on Monday: Eric Bailly replaces Victor Lindelof at the back, while Marcus Rashford comes in at the expense of Jesse Lingard.

Liverpool make five changes to the team that drew with Porto in midweek. Captain Jordan Henderson isn’t risked after suffering a dead leg during the closing stages of that particular non-event; he’s on the bench with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taking his place. Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are restored to the defence, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez dropping to the bench while Alberto Moreno misses out altogether. And Mo Salah returns, Adam Lallana also just one of the subs today.

The teams

This will be the 200th meeting of these grand old clubs. Manchester United are well out in front in terms of victories: 79 to 65. The first match, for the record, was a Test Match play-off in April 1894 between Second Division champions Liverpool and First Division stragglers Newton Heath. Liverpool won the game, played on neutral territory at Ewood Park in Blackburn, 2-0, and with it a place in the following season’s top flight at the Manchester club’s expense. Patrick Gordon and Harry Bradshaw scored the first-half goals that did for the Heathens; the second half was a bit of a non-event, according to this paper, the play being “moderate” because the players were “suffering from excitement”. What price similarly modest, highly strung play today? The more things change, etc.


Being for the benefit of Mr Mourinho and Mr Klopp … Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images



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