Only one match in the Premier League today but it is one of the biggest of the season – Manchester United host Liverpool at Old Trafford.
This rivalry goes back decades but has always been intense – the two sides genuinely dislike each other, especially if one is doing well and the other is struggling, relatively speaking, as is the case now.
The match kicks off at 4.30pm and it is live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event. Here are the factz you need to know:
* Last season, it ended 0-0 at Old Trafford. Earlier in the season, Liverpool beat United 3-1 at Anfield.
* Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 5 league matches against Liverpool at Old Trafford – they’ve won 3 of those
* Indeed, Liverpool have only beaten United once in their last 10 attempts in the PL – that win at Anfield last season, which prompted Jose Mourinho’s departure from the manager’s chair at United.
* If Liverpool win it will be their 18th in a row, equalling Manchester City’s top-flight record.
* A win for the Reds today will also the equal the Premier League record for most wins at the start of the season – 9. Chelsea achieved this in 2005.
* But United are out of form, winning just 2 of their last 13 league matches, losing 6.
* If United score twice they will be the first to reach 2,000 goals in the Premier League.
* However, United haven’t scored more than once since they thumped Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the season.
* If United lose, it will be their worst start to a season since 1986/7 – the season that one Alex Ferguson took over as manager.
* Only one side has ever won their first 9 league matches and not gone on to win the title – United in 1985/6. They won their first 10 that season but collapsed to let Liverpool take the glory.
Manchester United are hoping to put an end to their problems up from by signing Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic in January.
The Red Devils have endured a tough start to the season – they are 12th in the Premier League with 9 points from 8 matches – and are looking to strengthen in January.
Attacking options have been limited for United after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both left for Inter Milan in the summer and weren’t replaced. An injury to Anthony Martial has compounded matters. United have scored just 8 league goals this season.
But Italian outlet Tuttosport is reporting that this is being addressed and Mandzukic has verbally agreed a deal to move to Old Trafford when the transfer window opens again.
United has targeted the 33-year-old Croatian in the summer but a deal never materialised. However, Mandzukic has yet to feature for Juve this season and was not included in their Champions League squad.
It is thought he wants a move to another European side – he turned down a deal to join Al-Rayyan in Qatar – and appears to be set on joining United.
While Mandzukic isn’t the sort of young player United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking to buy, he would bring a wealth of experience and a proven goalscoring record wherever he has played – something United desperately need.
Struggling Manchester United are planning to make big-money bids next summer for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to reports.
United’s squad is in transition and it is widely believed the club will go on a spending spree next summer to try and close the gap to the Champions League places, according to a report on Goal.com. After a poor start – by their standards – to the Premier League, with 9 points from 8 games, it is thought the club will spend big in January and summer 2020.
The Red Devils have been linked with Rice and Koulibaly several times in the past year, although they have never got as far as making a formal bid for either player.
Rice is seen as the ideal man for the defensive midfielder position – current squad members Fred and Nemanja Matic have both been underwhelming this season. However, West Ham will drive a hard bargain if they are to be tempted into parting with one of their star players. It is thought West Ham’s owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, will want up to £80 million for the England international.
Meanwhile Koulibaly has become one of the highest rated central defenders in Europe for his performances for Napoli in Serie A and the Champions League in recent seasons. He is viewed as the man to go alongside Harry Maguire in the centre of defence. Again, a hard bargain would be driven for his signature and it could take up to £100 million to secure him. United would also doubtless face heavy competition from other European club giants such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as rivals Manchester City.
Premier League strugglers Everton are considering making a bid for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January, according to reports.
Everton, currently 18th in the table with just 7 points from 8 matches, are looking to bolster their forward line and believe that the 23-year-old could be the answer.
Manchester United have already been linked with a £40 million move for Dembele and it is thought the Toffees would match that.
Dembele has scored 20 goals in 37 appearances for Lyon since his £19.7 million move from Celtic last year. He also has experience in the Premier League having played for Fulham.
Everton splashed out some £25 million for Juventus striker Moise Kean in the summer but he has yet to find his feet in England. While Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been scoring, he has little back-up.
Manchester United also have problems up front. After selling Romelu Lukaku and sending Alexis Sanchez out on loan to Inter Milan in the summer, the Red Devils are light up front. This has been exacerbated by Anthony Martial’s injury and Marcus Rashford’s indifferent form.
Lyon will want to hold onto one of their stars and the lure of Champions League football – something neither Everton nor Manchester United can offer – may be enough to keep him in France.