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Mohamed Salah v Luke Shaw, Cristiano Ronaldo v Virgil van Dijk & More; Manchester United v Liverpool Key Battles

Another season with another inevitably wonderful chapter of this rivalry. What battles will be the key on the pitch and may be pivotal to the outcome of the game though?

The biggest game in English football.

The most successful teams in the country come up against one another yet again with the rivalry as intense and bitter as it ever has been.

It is a massive game for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the pressure will be on him if he were to lose such an important game.

Let's have a look at the battles on the pitch that will be key for him and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Harry Maguire vs Any of the front four

Harry Maguire is normally so often the rock at the back for Manchester United but that has not been the case so far this season. 

To put it bluntly he has had a poor start to the campaign and that was emphasised with his performance against Leicester City last weekend as his side got beat 4-2.

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire reacts during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire reacts during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

His individual error led to Leicester City's equaliser and then there was diabolical marking from a corner to allow Patson Daka to score his first league goal for the club.

He has only recently recovered from a calf injury so there is a possibly that he has been rushed back and Liverpool's attackers will be licking their lips.

Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have all been in fine form and are always a danger to any backline.

So when the captain at the heart of the defence for The Red Devils is looking off it then it will definitely be a pivotal battle which will have stark consequences for the outcome of the game.

Salah and Maguire have also came very close to each in the past and it ended with Salah rolling him before putting the ball in the back of the net to win Liverpool the game.

Therefore it will be very interesting to see what happens if they are isolated together in a one on one situation again.

Mohamed Salah vs Luke Shaw

This may seem like a fairly obvious one, however, it is not just because Salah is in the form of his life.

Every time Salah comes up against Luke Shaw he seemingly does struggle as the full-back seemingly appears to be one of the best when it comes to dealing with the Egyptian.

On two separate occasions Salah has been stifled completely by the full-back.

That may not seem like a lot however when you see how Shaw roughs him up to cope with him it makes you appreciate just how well he does to defend against him.

However those games were before last season.

Last season Salah scored three goals against Manchester United when Shaw was on the pitch so maybe the winger has finally figured Shaw out.

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We shall wait and see who gets the better of who on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Virgil Van Dijk

It is inevitable that Ronaldo will have a say on this game.

He is one of the greatest of all time for a reason and he has had serious impact on Manchester United performances this season.

Both good and bad.

In his first couple of league games the football romance was bliss as he scored two goals against Newcastle on his second debut and got the winner against West Ham.


Read More Manchester United v Liverpool Coverage


However in the three league games since then he has not scored or assisted and has looked like more of a problem than a player ready to fire Solskjaer's side to the title.

His pressing or lack of it has become a problem and kills the dynamic of the side.

However he has three in three in the Champions League and got the winner against Atalanta on Wednesday.

So what Ronaldo will Virgil Van Dijk have to come up against?

Van Dijk has only faced Ronaldo once at club level and that was the infamous Champions League final in Kiev.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo did not get a sniff that game.

He has also came up against him twice whilst playing for Holland and also on those two occasions the striker was unable to do anything.

Van Dijk will be hoping that Sunday afternoon can follow a similar theme as it will more than likely be one of his toughest challenges since he has came back from injury.

He has brought back a calming influence and his playmaking skills so hopefully for Liverpool fans he carry on his comeback with a dominant performance against one of the best of all time.

It will be vital to the result of the game.


Read More Liverpool Coverage


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