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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 25 April, 2018
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Liveblog

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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail aaron@the42.ie, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 12.30pm.

This game needs no introduction. Well, maybe a little one actually.

One of the biggest, loudest, most-anticipated games of the season sees another chapter added to the age old rivalry of Liverpool and Manchester United.

These lads really don’t like each other one bit do they. Regardless of where either team is, whether it be competing for titles or scraping Europa League qualification this game is consistently hyped up as one of the biggest and best the Premier League has to offer.

There have not been too many classic in recent years, however the drama, aggression and passion between the two sets of clubs and their supporters never appears to wane regardless of what is unfolding on the pitch.

After a David Moyes/Louis van Gaal-shaped absence United are once again competing at the top end of the table and feel that this year they will certainly present a competitive title challenge to holders Chelsea and rivals Manchester City.

Liverpool, meanwhile, may be just a bit off that margin. Or at least so says former Reds ace Jamie Carragher, who today wrote that he simply cannot see the Reds claiming the title under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp. That didn’t go down well amongst supporters.

Now then, let’s get some team news.

Here are today’s teams…

Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho

Subs: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Sturridge

Man United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Darmian; Herrera, Matic; Young, Mkhitaryan, Martial; Lukaku

Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Blind, Lingard, Mata, Rashford

Liverpool are without Sadio Mane up front but still field a strong eleven with Philippe Coutinho slotting comfortably into a dangerous front three alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, drops Marcus Rashford to the bench in what seems to be a 4-2-3-1 with Romelu Lukaku starting up top in front of Anthony Martial, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Ashley Young.

A win for Jose Mourinho’s side this afternoon would extend the gap between the sides to a massive 10 points, whereas a win for Jurgen Klopp would very much put Liverpool’s season back on track.

The Reds have just one win in seven in all competitions since a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on 9 September and have just four points from 12 in the league in the same period — meaning they have slipped to 7th in the table.

A win today would not only edge them further up the table, but provide a mental springboard heading back into the Champions League on Tuesday.

The teams are in the tunnel with kick-off just moments away now.

There is a cracking atmosphere at Anfield today as Kenny Dalglish takes the warm applause of the home supporters.

Plus, there’s a familiar face in the crowd today…

1Mins

We’re underway…

2Mins

United starting very openly as Antonio Valencia attacks down the right wing to force an early corner.

2Mins

It’s harmless, but does force another corner, which is also harmless. Liverpool now getting the ball on the deck and stroking it back and forth. Pass and move the Anfield grove, Kenny Dalglish thinks out loud to himself.

4Mins

Foul by Herrera on Coutinho following a quick jink from the Brazilian. We have ourselves the game’s first free-kick… but it’s played short as Liverpool are again happy to revert to spraying the ball around as United soak up pressure and sit back.

5Mins

6Mins

Early chance! It’s a good, quick break from Liverpool via Wijnaldum. He plays a neat one-two with Coutinho but the Dutch international’s shot at the near post lacks any power and is gathered by David De Gea.

9Mins

This has been a surprisingly open first ten minutes. And by open we literally mean open as massive pockets of space open up everywhere across the pitch. Liverpool’s pacey forwards will revel if this pattern continues, as United still look to find their shape with a back four.

10Mins

Liverpool have a second shot, but this time it’s a poor effort from Joel Matip — who has played every minute of the Premier League season thus far.

His strike from range is always high and rising, and flies well and truly over the crossbar.

13Mins

Ashley Young thinks he is away after winning the ball along the left wing, but he is called back by referee Martin Atkinson for a foul in the process. There was plenty of space for Young there. He is looking lively and energetic in these early exchanges.

14Mins

Chance! A third shot from Liverpool as Wijnaldum cuts inside and shoots from just on the edge of the penalty area. He tries to curl it into the bottom corner but David De Gea saves low with relative ease.

15Mins

16Mins

It’s all Liverpool at the moment as Joe Gomez thunders into the box. He lingers a moment too long as he eyes up an effort destined for the bottom corner, and a last ditch challenge heaves the ball away from danger.

17Mins

Mohamed Salah spins away from one marker on the edge of the area before going down claiming a free-kick. Referee Atkinson waves play on to the boos and jeers of the disgruntled home supporters.

19Mins

Another effort. Another poor one. This time it’s Firmino — he has all the time and space he could possibly need but his connection with the ball is poor and it rolls easily into the welcome arms of De Gea.

20Mins

A fantastic, fantastic challenge from Darmian as Coutinho was free in space dashing towards the penalty area menacingly. Usually the Brazilian cut in to his left, as opposed to his favored right, and the Italian defender reads it perfectly.

21Mins

Chance! Salah almost gets a touch to Firmino’s volleyed cross which dashes across the box. Any touch would have seen it bundled in to give Liverpool the lead, but the winger’s reactions were just a second too slow.

24Mins

United come up the other end following a prolonged period of being pinned back into their own half. They earn a free-kick in a promising position, but the mood falls flat as it bounces off the wall harmlessly, failing to beat the first man.

23Mins

Pictured: Ander Herrera brings down Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne

32Mins

Jose Mourinho’s side beginning to come into the game a little bit more now. Liverpool have had the lion’s share of possession (and chances at goal) but have nothing to show for it as of yet.

United’s back four have been made to work hard inside this opening half an hour. They have been pinned back and often under pressure, but still boast a clean sheet with 15 minutes to go before the break.

Finely poised, as it were.

30Mins

Chanceeeee. That was close. Very, very close. The ball falls to Matic on the edge of the box and the Serbian international does not disappoint, serving up a fine half-volley which is only inches from smashing into the top corner.

34Mins

Some really smart challenges from both defences preventing some quick breaks. United have incredibly conceded just two goals so far this season — Liverpool 12.

35Mins

CHANCE! Oh goodness me that was close, but what a save from David Dea Gea. Some expert work from Roberto Firmino puts the ball on a plate for Joel Matip — he strikes low and into the corner but the Spanish goalkeeper sticks out a leg and forces it out brilliantly.

The danger isn’t over just there, however, as the ball falls to Mohamed Salah, who can only curl the ball wide seven yards out from goal. Wow.

39Mins

The pace is relentless as Romelu Lukaku sweeps Joe Gomez clean off his feet with a late, late challenge. The striker does not receive a booking, but boy do the home fans think he should have. They’re letting referee Martin Atkinson know about it.

40Mins

Another good save from De Gea, who is rightly receiving a lot of love for his earlier effort. This time it’s a bit more straightforward as Mohamed Salah strikes a tame volley from range which is easily gathered by the goalkeeper.

41Mins

Seal. Of. Approval.

43Mins

CHANCE CHANCE WHAT A CHANCE THAT WAS. Some wonderful link-up play on the edge of the Liverpool box sees Romelu Lukaku one on one with Simon Mignolet. His strike is powerful, but at a hood height for the Belgian shot-stopper who parries well.

Ashley Young with the re-bound, but it is blocked promptly.

45Mins

45Mins

There will be just one minute of additional time to come at the end of the first half.

45Mins

Well, what do we think of that then?

No goals, but it was by no means boring.

Liverpool started much the brighter, with chances a begging for Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip, with David Dea Gea proving time and time again why he is one the world’s very best goalkeepers.

His opposite number Simon Mignolet was called into action late on. Some intricate, delicate passing play from Henrik Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial put the ball on a plate for Romelu Lukaku, however his shot forced a brilliant save from his countryman between the sticks.

It’s been intriguing, entertaining and competitive. 45 more minutes of that Mr Premier League, please and thank you.

46Mins

We’re back underway…

47Mins

An early chance for Liverpool, but the linesman’s flag is raised for offside. It’s an early break from Philippe Coutinho, but it ultimately comes to nothing. A lively opening from the hosts who look intent on taking all three points.

49Mins

Liverpool earn a corner, which Ashley Young blocks. The crowd boos. Ashley Young fouls a Liverpool player. The crowd boos.

53Mins

Another chance for Liverpool, another offside for Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho breaks through enemy lines with grace and ease, but his brilliant final ball is ultimately meaningless as his team-mate Firmino mistimes his run by a handful of seconds.

54Mins

Jurgen Klopp’s side with a succession of chances now as Liverpool enjoy a purple patch. This time Coutinho has a go of his own, which is blocked and turns into a through ball to Wijnaldum inside the box.

His effort, however, is lofted over the crossbar.

57Mins

Emre Can! The German makes a good run and breaks free of his marker, but his header flies wide to the furious anger of his manager on the sidelines. Jurgen Klopp is not a happy man.

61Mins

Philippe Coutinho with some fine trickery and close control. He goes down inside the box — well, he sort of lies down slowly following a challenge from Ander Herrera — claiming  a penalty.

But the referee is having none of it.

64Mins

Substitution for Man United: Jesse Lingard replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

66Mins

Substitution for Man United: Marcos Rashford replaces Anthony Martial.

67Mins

Mohamed Salah with a  clever jink inside. He attempts to curl the ball emphatically into David De Gea’s top corner, but it flies well over and into the Kop behind the goal.

68Mins

Roberto Firmino breaks free and unmarked along the left wing but his final ball across the box is poor and straight into the arms of De Gea.

United very much happy to sit back and soak up pressure here. Liverpool are beginning to look slightly frustrated and flustered as they cannot break the Jose Mourinho juggernaut down with just over 20 minutes to go.

70Mins

72Mins

Liverpool playing a game of heads and volleys inside the United box just now. Firmino juggles the ball wonderfully but his final ball directed towards the back post is over-hit and flies wide of the post.

74Mins

Chris Smalling receives a yellow card for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, which the home crowd enjoys.

76Mins

Mohamed Salah takes possession 30 yards from goal. He shoots. It flies over. The game is running painfully out of steam here.

77Mins

Daniel Sturridge is being prepared to come on now. Can he be the difference between victory and defeat?! Eh, maybe.

78Mins

Substitution for Liverpool: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mohamed Salah.

79Mins

Substitution for Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge replaces Philippe Coutinho.

81Mins

It’s absolutely frantic at the moment. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has thrown Manchester United right off, striking fear into his opponents like only he can.

Liverpool are really piling on the pressure with 10 minutes to go. They know that their opponents are likely playing for a point (maybe they have been doing so all along…) and are going for the jugular.

(Cues the Final Countdown music)

84Mins

A powerful, lung-busting run from Emre Can takes him into the United penalty area. He runs out of the steam at the last and his shot crawls into the arms of David De Gea.

86Mins

Ashley Young receives a yellow card as Liverpool prepare to make their final change.

88Mins

Substitution for Liverpool: Dominic Solanke replaces Roberto Firmino.

90Mins

Liverpool still going for it here as United continue to shut up shop. Oxlade-Chamberlain is lively along the right wing, crossing and causing all sorts of problems. Just stoppage time to come.

90Mins

There will be three minutes of additional time to come as Liverpool earn a corner.

90Mins

It’s a decent cross aimed towards the back post but Dejan Lovren head over the crossbar.

90Mins

Substitution for Man United: Victor Lindelöf replaces Ashley Young, who is once again booed.

90Mins

Liverpool work the ball up the pitch and force a corner for one last chance…

… it’s the last kick of the game. Well, head actually. Joel Matip heads over and it’s all over too.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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