Premier League 2020/21: Liverpool and Manchester United gear up for weekend clash

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United battles for possession with Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United at Anfield on December 16, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Premier League is in full swing now with its iconic, constant, and unexpected twists and turns. In a sudden, unprecedented sequence of events, Manchester United has leapt past Liverpool, and the Red Devils are currently boasting the first position with 36 points, 3 points more than the Reds. Paul Scholes, particularly, believes they have the chance to secure the Premier League title this season, given that they triumph over Liverpool on the 17th. This win is crucial as it ensures them being six points clear of Liverpool and keeps them at the top of the Premier League table.

No one could have predicted Manchester United’s unexpected rise to the top after their disappointing start to the season. But now, with their unbeaten run of 11 games, it seems as if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has managed to restore the Red Devils to somewhat of their former glory back when they were under Sir Alex Ferguson, who appears as number 1 in Sportingbet’s list of the greatest English Club’s managers.

According to recent reports, the Red Devils have been training vigorously in an attempt to secure the EPL title. Ahead of them lies a hurdle indeed, and several tougher games, but many seem hopeful of their success. It is also the first time Manchester United has managed to occupy the top position at this point in a season ever since Sir Alex Ferguson. And many speculate that it could have something to do with the way United are being clever about how they win penalties. Ever since football rebegan in June, Manchester United have received 18 penalties, four more than any other English club. Upon hearing the stats, Mark Clattenburg has made his statements regarding the matter. After careful evaluation of 11 of their penalty awards, he claimed:

“There are as many as five where I believe contact was invited or even initiated by the United player. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood are the players involved.

They are, in many ways, being clever. Once there is contact, and the penalty is awarded, VAR will rarely overturn the decision.”

Marcus Rashford, forward for Manchester United and distinguished player, admits that Jose Mourinho taught him how to receive a penalty, that is, how to go down in the box. Is this the key to winning the daunting match on Sunday and how do Liverpool feel about this recent speculation? After Jurgen Klopp felt that his squad was denied two-spot kicks vs Southampton, he took aim at Manchester United upon discovering the ‘penalty’ stats. Klopp believed two incidents involving Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum deserved penalties. He claimed: “I hear now that Man United had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years”, which is certainly telling. However, Klopp did state the team was just “not good enough” that match leading to their defeat.

As the match date approaches, tensions are rising. If the Red Devils manage to triumph and beat the defenders of the title, that is when fans will truly start believing they can win the league. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side is not backing down and gearing up for battle, with the majority of the pressure being on their side. Liverpool have gone three games without a win, and they will be aiming to bounce back and prove they still have that drive that the public witnessed last season. However, unlike last season, Liverpool’s world-class defender, Virgil van Dijk, is still out due to injury and the Dutchman was an integral part of the Reds victory. Could United make use of this advantage and exploit the Reds defensive weakness or will we behold an impressionable Liverpool comeback?