Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson has said that the loss of Sadio Mane will harm Liverpool’s chances of beating Manchester United at Anfield this weekend.
Mane is facing six weeks on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury while representing Senegal during the recent international break.
Merson has claimed that Liverpool would have had a chance of overcoming United with the presence of their leading scorer, but the 49-year-old does not believe that the Reds have enough as it stands.
United will travel to Merseyside having won six of their seven Premier League matches at the start of the 2017-18 campaign, which has left them in second position in the table. Liverpool, meanwhile, are five places and seven points behind Jose Mourinho’s side.
Merson told Sky Sports:
“This is a massive game, but I just don’t see how Liverpool win without Sadio Mane. I half-fancied them with Mane, but I can’t see it now.
“It will be interesting to see how United approach it. You would like to think, with the squad and firepower they have got, that they will have a go. But we have said that before and they have parked the bus, so we will have to see what happens.
“It’s a big game for Romelu Lukaku. Now he is with one of the big boys he has to perform against the big boys. Manchester United are a better team but Liverpool’s home advantage should help them get a draw.”
Liverpool could also be without the services of Dejan Lovren for the clash at Anfield, but Mourinho has a problem in central midfield.
Indeed, Marouane Fellaini has joined Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick on the sidelines, leaving Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera as United’s only fit senior central midfielders.