In the early weeks of the Premier League season, plenty has pointed towards a potential title challenge for Liverpool. But you sense the most emphatic indication of their credentials to be the top dog in English football would be a win over bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Monday.
A lot has aligned for the Merseyside club early on. After a tough start to the campaign, including clashes with last season’s top three and Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp has steered this group of players to 16 points from seven games, playing some pulsating football in the process.
Given the goals scored, team spirit cultivated and the free midweeks on the team’s schedule that have previously been filled by European matches, there’s a lot in Liverpool’s favor when it comes to a potential run at the championship.
More than United have in their favor currently, anyway. While Liverpool have been fluid and functional in the early weeks of the season, Jose Mourinho’s version of Manchester United have been fractured. The manager will be aware an improvement is needed if they’re to triumph at Anfield.
While the Premier League’s unforgiving nature means there are no straightforward fixtures, should Liverpool overcome their rivals on Monday, the run of games upcoming will give them an outstanding chance to build huge momentum. A memorable night in front of their fervent supporters would keep the fire currently burning under the Reds roaring.
By contrast, United still look as though they need a trigger. It could have come against Manchester City earlier in the campaign, but the Red Devils came up short in so many departments. Mourinho can’t allow another enemy to show his side up.
When and where to watch the game on TV/streaming:
Date: Monday, October 17
Time: 3 p.m. (ET), Noon (PT)
US TV: NBCSN and NBC Universo
US streaming: NBC Sports App and Sling Blue (free trial)
While Liverpool supporters have always been a fanatical and ambitious bunch, there’s credence to their untamed excitement at this point in the campaign.
On the pitch, their team is exhibiting some tremendous play at breakneck pace. On the sidelines their exuberant manager prowls and punches the air. While the stadium itself has been bolstered with the pristine, imposing main stand. Positivity and purpose have engulfed the red section of Merseyside.
So while clashes with Manchester United may have been greeted with some apprehension during the Premier League years, this one—under the lights at Anfield after a two-week international hiatus—is being looked upon with anticipation. Liverpool are a force at the moment and some supporters quite fancy the hosts to give Mourinho’s men a chasing.