Liverpool’s next match in their quest for Premier League glory comes on Sunday against Manchester United at Anfield. One battle in particular is likely to play a big role in the final result.
The Red Devils are actually the only team in English football’s top tier this season to take any points off the Merseyside outfit. At Old Trafford in October, the two teams drew 1-1 in a clash during which Jurgen Klopp’s men struggled to break down their opponents.
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United are currently fifth in the table and are 27 points off the league leaders. However, despite the big gap between the two so far this term, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to spring an upset and at least put a small spanner into the works of Liverpool’s title procession. One battle in particular will be key to the final outcome.
In that first encounter between the two sides this campaign, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was one of his team’s star performers. He picked up a SofaScore rating of 7.1, which was bettered only by Marcus Rashford and Daniel James amongst his teammates.
As United looked to be solid defensively and counter, the former Crystal Palace man – who was signed for £50m from the Eagles last summer – was a rock at right-back. He made two clearances, two interceptions and two tackles as he kept the opposition quiet, and that enabled United to get something from the game.
On that day, Divock Origi was the man he faced up against, with Sadio Mane moving to the right to cover for the loss of Mohamed Salah, who was injured. With the Egypt international now fit and ready to feature this weekend, that will see the Senegal international move back to his favoured position on the left, and that will provide Wan-Bissaka with a far sterner test. The 27-year-old is in the form of his life – he was recently crowned African Player of the Year, was fourth in the Ballon d’Or’s final rankings and currently has a huge 15 goals and 11 assists in 29 games in all competitions this time out.
With 1.9 dribbles and 2.5 key passes per match in the Premier League this season, he is one of his side’s most dangerous players. However, he too will have his work cut out to get the best of the 22-year-old he will likely be facing. Wan-Bissaka has 4.1 tackles per match – only Leicester pair Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira have more in the league – whilst he has two interceptions per match, which puts him in the top 20 in the division. Having been dribbled past just 0.7 times per outing, few wingers get the best of him.
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If both players are at their best this weekend, then it promises to be an enthralling battle. Considering how both teams play, whoever comes out on top will be in a position to have a strong influence on the result.
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