Chris Smalling has voiced his confidence at being able to keep Liverpool’s attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah quiet quiet at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has only conceded one goal to Liverpool since becoming Man United manager – a James Milner penalty – and is yet to concede at Anfield following consecutive 0-0 draws away to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
However, on Saturday he welcomes a side boasting the best goalscoring record away from home this season and the league’s top goalscorer in Salah, who has 32 goals in all competitions this term.
But Smalling, speaking to MUTV ahead of the game, voiced his confidence ahead of going head to head with Liverpool’s attack.
“They’ve scored a lot of goals this year, but we kept them quiet at Anfield,” he said.
“I think the fact that this game is at home means we’ll be in the ascendancy and on the front foot. It’s a case of keeping them quiet and having them worry about all of our attacking players.”
United will have no problems coping with Liverpool on a physical level. Anything in the air will be taken care of quite comfortably by Smalling or Bailly.
Where they are likely to struggle is in the finer details: tracking the movement of Liverpool’s front three, maintaining a solid defensive line, keeping gaps closed, avoiding mistakes under pressure.
Defending against Liverpool’s sheer pace and execution requires a cool head more than anything. The worst possible thing United could do on Saturday is panic, lose concentration, and eventually fold in the face of Klopp’s attack.