Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils hand Jurgen Klopp’s Reds their first league loss of the season?
Liverpool host Manchester United in the pick of the weekend’s action on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp’s side face their fierce rivals in another major hurdle as they close in on a first title in three decades.
Victory over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend took Liverpool up to 61 points after 21 matches, for context, this is more than any side in any of Europe’s five major leagues has ever won at this stage of a campaign.
Similarly, it took the Reds up to 104 points from their last 38 matches across this season and last, more than any other side in the top-flight has ever amassed across that amount of games.
We are witnessing one of the great sides of the English game, and how they’d love to extend their 38-game undefeated streak against United.
It was the Red Devils, of course, who ended the Merseysiders’ winning streak in the Autumn, but can they now inflict a first loss of the season on the champions-elect?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said United are aiming to challenge for the title next season, but it remains to be seen whether he will still be in a job by then.
The Northern giants, who last won the title in 2013, are currently in fifth, five points behind Chelsea, but 27 behind the leaders.
“[A title challenge] is the aim, of course,” Solskjaer told journalists. “I’m not saying it is a realistic one. We are behind and a fair rate behind the top one now, who we play on Sunday and we’ll see where we are against them.
“With a few signings, with the improvement these are making, in the next couple of years we want to do that.
“Supporters and the club alike are not happy with not challenging for the top position in the league. That is where we feel we should be and many of today’s supporters have lived that period where we won the league consistently.”
Catch the derby live on SuperSport on Sunday, with kickoff at 18:30 CAT on SS3.
Also in Premier League action this weekend, Manchester City face a stern test when they host a Crystal Palace side who love competing against big boys, while Leicester City will attempt to return to winning ways when they travel to Burnley.
The reigning champions are in action at 17:00 CAT on SS3 on Saturday, while you can watch the Foxes’ match at 16:00 CAT on SS3 on Sunday.
Sundowns will be desperate to bounce back following their midweek defeat at Orlando Pirates, where Gabadinho Mhango continued his fine form with the only goal of the game.
It’s a result which leaves the Brazilians nine points off the pace in the title race and facing an uphill struggle to overtake Kaizer Chiefs, who themselves defeated Cape Town City 3-0 on Sunday to maintain their excellent campaign.
SuperSport United, in third, have played one game more than Sundowns but would overtake them with a victory in the match of the weekend.
The match will be broadcast on SS4 at 15:30.
The 61-year-old replaced Ernesto Valverde earlier this week, but has a mammoth task ahead of him at the dysfunctional giants, despite Barca’s current position at the top of the table.
Under president Josep Maria Bartomeu, there’s been an erosion of Barca’s structure behind the scenes, and the club’s handling of their new managerial pursuit has further demonstrated the disorganisation behind the scenes.
Setien will be desperate to get fans talking about football again, and there’s no better way to do that than with a big win this weekend.
Granada, currently in tenth, won’t roll over, although after three defeats in their last five, they’re vulnerable.
Cristiano Ronaldo impressed against the capital clubs, who pulled one back in the second half through Diego Perotti, but the win came at a cost, with Merih Demiral now set for a long injury layoff due to injury.
Last weekend, Inter also took an early lead against Atalanta, with Lautaro Martinez netting in the fourth minute, but when the visitors equalised in the 75th minute—via Robin Gosens—the Nerazzurri had no response.
Full SuperSport weekend schedule
Saturday 18 January:
Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur SS3 Kickoff at 14:30 (CAT)
Black Leopards vs Kaizer Chiefs SS4 Kickoff at 15:30 (CAT)
Real Madrid vs Sevilla SS7 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace SS3 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)
Arsenal vs Sheffield United SS5 (SA) & SS13 & SS4 (ROA) Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)
Orlando Pirates vs Highlands Park SS4 (SA) & SS9 (ROA) Kickoff at 18:00 (CAT)
Newcastle United vs Chelsea SS3 Kickoff at 19:30 (CAT)
Sunday 19 January
SuperSport United vs Mamelodi Sundowns SS4 Kickoff at 15:30 (CAT)
Lecce vs Inter Milan SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 16:00 (CAT)
Burnley vs Leicester City SS3 Kickoff at 16:00 (CAT)
Liverpool vs Manchester United SS3 Kickoff at 18:30 (CAT)
Juventus vs Parma SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
Barcelona vs Granada SS7 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)