The previous North-West derby had ended in a 0-0 stalemate at Anfield in January, and both teams will be looking forward to win this one. Ole Gunnar Skolsjaer’s side will play their third match in just five days as a result of the fixture congestion caused when the May 2 match between these two teams was postponed due to fan protests and stadium security being compromised.
Fans continue to protest in front of the stadium before the late night kickoff
Manchester United fans are once again protesting against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club ahead of Thursday night’s match with Liverpool and have taken to the streets, local reports confirm.
On May 2, thousands of fans descended upon Old Trafford for the largely peaceful protest, though there were some clashes with the police.
Approximately 100 supporters also breached the stadium and invaded the pitch ahead of the scheduled kick-off time, leading to fears of a Covid-19 breach and security getting compromised.
With players delayed at the Lowry Hotel due to a large fan presence outside the hotel, the Premier League match was eventually postponed.
There are similar instances of protest tonight and local authorities have taken extra precautions to avoid another postponing of the match.Police authorities had to escort the Liverpool team bus to the stadium, to ensure their safety.
Several of United’s players arrived at Old Trafford more than six hours ahead of kick-off as the club looks to avoid another postponement. Two decoy team buses were used to deceive the protesters.
However, United’s Bruno Fernandes is of the view that United’s early arrival at Old Trafford won’t impact the team’s performance.
“So not effect arriving at the stadium earlier than usual?” he was asked by Sky Sports in a pre-match interview.
“I hope not, we will see.” Bruno replied.
“Let’s be clear, what we’ve seen on that full-court before which is effectively Man United turned into a prison, it’s a devastating image for the Manchester United Football Club brand around the world, let’s just note that. You have to put prison walls up around your ground and have hundreds and hundreds of police officers on a game where fans aren’t attending, there is something that has gone badly wrong.” reported Gary Neville to Sky Sports.
Team lineups are announced ahead of the match
Solskjaer has made 10 changes to his line up for the match, with Eric Bailly the only keeping his starting place from the defeat to Leicester on Tuesday.
Solskjaer on those changes: “Tuesday was the big change for us. This is a team that’s played a lot of games for us and only Eric [Bailly] played the full game on Tuesday so it shouldn’t be a problem, carry on as normal.
“My players are very, very focused to show what kind of team we are, just glad we can play a game of football.”
United XI: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw, Fred, Pogba, McTominay, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani.
Subs: De Gea, Mata, Greenwood, Amad, Telles, Matic, B Williams, Van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Klopp is asked about on any changes to his approach, compared with 11 days ago: “No, because it was clear that we had to win and that didn’t change. You see the lineup of United, top team, really good setup, it’ll be a proper football game.”
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, R Williams, Phillips, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Jota, Firmino, Salah.
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Mane, Jones, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Origi, Woodburn, N Williams.