In this era of football fans obsessing about the 21st-century cult figure that is - the football manager. It's hardly surprising that everybody is billing this as Klopp V Mourinho and it's perhaps then less surprising that Liverpool are favourites. Klopp has seduced the Kop with his happy go lucky, honest and hard working approach. Liverpool certainly look like a team that a) know what their manager wants and b) are willing to go out and act out said managers plans. United however, as many observers have noted don't appear to have an M.O., Mourinho hasn't stamped his name across his teams style of play. It's true Mourinho's United are not like Van Gaal's instantly recognisable by certain traits in their game. Perhaps, in this case that is not such a bad thing. At the end of the day, games are decided by the players on the pitch and it is here we look for our evidence.
Much of Klopp's adoration comes from the way his side go out and press, suffocating opponents and quickly sticking the knife in with quick and precise counters. Have a look at our Clip from Liverpool V Chelsea this season and see how we feel the home side might press tonight.
What many people don't highlight is that Klopp's team do allow the opposition to play out, they are not in terms of its definition 100% high pressing. In fact they seek to lour you into playing and then they set their traps. Chelsea in the clip don't really fall for it, if you watch the clip again when the ball is forced back to the Keeper, Coutinho playing left wing creeps up ready to press a short pass. Chelsea decided in the end to by-pass the threat and I honestly feel this will be the approach of United tonight. Meaning a loss of possession from time to time but perhaps not leading to a goal chance. City also press high and when they met United this season I was interested to see United's varied approach. Have a look as I feel if United do this tonight they may beat the Anfield press.
If Liverpool fail to create from Klopp's famous GegenPress its hard to see where their goals will come. Looking at their goals so far we see a lot of penalties as a result of their fast breaks into the opponents box, we see a few cleverly worked set-pieces and then there are goals like Henderson V Chelsea and this beauty below from Coutinho.
Trouble is if Liverpool win tonight I feel it will require a moment of brilliance as their Manchester rivals are bound to have learned from their error-prone ways V Watford. A home draw against Stoke may not inspire confidence but I actually saw positive signs and the international break was a welcome one for United and not so welcome maybe for Liverpool. The final two clips are what I feel this game will come down to, United's main threat will come from set-pieces and or the x-factor a Zlatan or Rashford may have in and around the box. Liverpool have not always inspired when defending their own box this season see their conceded goal V Chelsea for evidence and they have been dreadful defending set-pieces. Klopp spoke to Carragher on MNF and his assessment was I can't make my players taller, yet most of the goals have come from 2nd balls not being defending in the Zonal defensive structure.
If you are not a fan of either side we think 1.61 for a draw or a United win is actually not bad value considering the evidence above and it gives you 2 out of 3 possible results. It will be tight and it will be fierce as always, both teams have conceded plenty so far this season especially the home side. That said don't be surprised if we have less than 2.5 goals tonight.
Enjoy the game :)