EPL

Big Match Focus: Man Utd v Liverpool (Sunday 16:30 GMT)

By Sports Desk January 16, 2020

Liverpool are racing clear at the top of the table and it will surely take a miracle for the Reds not to win their first Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp's side face old rivals Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield, with the Red Devils the only team to have taken points off Liverpool so far this season.

Unbeaten in 38 Premier League matches, Liverpool are overwhelming favourites, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a 4-0 win over struggling Norwich City on Saturday.

Can United stall Liverpool's procession, or will Klopp's men continue their stroll towards Premier League glory?

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    Real Madrid great Guti said he would sign Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Los Blancos, while mocking Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann.

    LaLiga champions Madrid have been heavily linked with a blockbuster move for PSG star Mbappe, who is out of contract in Paris at the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Neymar, who swapped Barcelona for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017, has previously been linked with Madrid.

    As Madrid prepare for Saturday's Clasico against bitter rivals Barca at Camp Nou, Guti talked up Neymar and Mbappe while poking fun at Griezmann, who has struggled to establish himself since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2019.

    "I'd sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Real Madrid and for Barcelona I wouldn't sign anyone, just for Griezmann to stay," Guti, 43, said as he laughed while discussing the Clasico.

    "There are many great players in this game, but I'm going for the youngsters.

    "Surely it'll be Ansu Fati at Barcelona and Vinicius [Junior] at Real Madrid [who can make an impact]. They're very talented players who are going to bring a lot to LaLiga."

    Both Madrid and Barca will enter the Clasico on the back of LaLiga defeats, while the former were also stunned by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

    Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to newly promoted Cadiz at the weekend and Lionel Messi's Barca succumbed to Getafe by the same scoreline.

    Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are a point adrift of Real Sociedad with a game in hand, while Barca are ninth and four points off the pace, having played a game less.

    "It won't determine who'll win LaLiga, but it is an important match," said Guti, who won five LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. "Mentally, if a player does well or a team wins, then it can do you good for what is still to come in LaLiga.

    "It's a test for both of these teams to see what level they're at and to see what they can achieve this year."

  • Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag

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    Ajax had their chances but Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal was enough for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the Group D clash in Amsterdam.

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    Ten Hag said he felt the Eredivisie giants could have taken advantage of the Premier League champions.

    "It would have been a big bonus if we had taken one or more points," the Ajax head coach said.

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    Tagliafico turned in a miscued Sadio Mane effort 10 minutes before half-time for the game's only goal.

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    Led incredibly by head coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, Melbourne are in their fourth Grand Final in five years.

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    Finals dip

    For all their dominance in the home-and-away seasons, Melbourne's win rate in finals since 2011 is 62.5 – which ranks below the Roosters (63.2). Bellamy's men have played in the most (24) in that period, but have been unable to capitalise regularly in the postseason. Interestingly, the Storm average fewer points against in the finals since 2011 (14.1 to 14.5), but their points for drop from 23.3 to 19.4.

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    2020 NRL Grand Final Opta facts

    - Penrith have won two of their past three NRL games against the Storm (L1) and will be on the hunt for back-to-back wins against them for the first time since 2005. This will be their first ever meeting in the finals.

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    - No team has appeared in (nine) or won (five) more Grand Finals in the NRL era (1998-) than the Storm, while only Gold Coast Titans (0) had competed in fewer than the Panthers (one) prior to this campaign.

    - Melbourne have made 12 successful intercepts in the 2020 NRL campaign, the second-most of any team in the competition behind South Sydney Rabbitohs (16).

    - The Penrith Panthers have scored 24 tries on the back of a penalty this NRL campaign – the second-most of any team in the competition – while only the Broncos (122) have conceded more penalties than the Storm (119) this season.

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