• Dan Tracey


With the Premier League season approaching its final furlong, there are still several issues to be decided and although the title race could finally be run as early as this weekend, the quest for Champions League berths continues at large.

A quest that Manchester United will have completed bar a monumental collapse and even if that were to be the rather unlikely case, they still have the insurance policy otherwise known as Europa League success.

Of course, United still have the slimmest of hopes regarding this season’s title and if Manchester City were to somehow lose every fixture between now and the final day while their neighbours win theirs, the Premier League trophy would be off to Old Trafford.

If we’re being honest, even the most ardent United fan could not dream such a fantasy and therefore, the Red Devils will have to make do with being the best of the rest for the 2020/21 campaign.

However, there is also something else at stake this Sunday and that is bragging rights against their other geographical rival and with Liverpool needing maximum points for their own Champions League hopes, this has all the makings of a rather appealing encounter.

Admittedly, this encounter is always appealing, it’s just that the timing of Sunday’s meeting in the context of the season means that one team could end up being largely disappointed come the final whistle.

Then again, a draw may end up being the worst result for both parties and that is why both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp will be looking to mastermind a win over the over this Sunday afternoon.

In terms of United, they are the form team in the division and their current unbeaten run was extended to 13 league outings last weekend. However, their impressive winning streak was ended by Leeds during the same meeting.

A 0-0 draw was not really one to get excited about in terms of entertainment and even after the Red Devils trudged off the Elland Road pitch, there was a feeling that any genuine title hopes had faded once and for all.

While for Liverpool, they were largely masters of their own downfall and after wasting a considerable number of chances at home to Newcastle last weekend, they were punished in the dying seconds.

Joe Willock’s goal for the Magpies aided their hopes of beating the drop, although it can only be viewed as two massive points dropped for the soon to be former champions and now Liverpool find themselves playing catchup to the likes of Chelsea and West Ham.

Much has been made of their defensive deficiencies this season, but at the same time their attack cannot be absolved from blame either and when you consider that their fearsome trio is now running on fumes, one wonders if a big sale is made in the summer.

That may be the case if Liverpool fail to finish in the top four and although they are not short of a penny at Anfield, rebuild jobs do not come cheap. Which means, Sunday’s result could also have a bearing on next season and a rather large one at the same time.

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