Fabinho has claimed that Liverpool are aware of the threat Manchester United oppose to their title defence, as well as other rivals. The Brazilian remains confident, however, that his team can get a result on Sunday.
Liverpool head into their gargantuan encounter with United in an unfamiliar position – second in the league standings.
Paul Pogba’s second-half winner against Burnley last night ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team moved three points clear at the Premier League summit.
As a result, Liverpool have been dethroned from top-spot for the first time since mid-December.
The reigning English champions, then, cannot afford to surrender any further ground it what is proving to be a tightly-contested title race.
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Defeat against Southampton last week was the third successive occasion Jurgen Klopp and his team have dropped points. The Reds have taken just one of the nine points available in recent weeks.
United, on the other hand, are unbeaten in the league since November 1. Their most recent away defeat in the Premier League was at the very ground they are due to travel to on January 19, 2020.
Fabinho on the title race
And Fabinho believes the threat that Manchester United and also Manchester City have shown this season hasn’t gone unnoticed by Liverpool.
“We are aware that the fight isn’t only against Manchester United,” he said, as per The MEN.
“But they are definitely confident and enjoying a good momentum in the league. They are winning some games that perhaps they weren’t last season, such as against Wolves.
“However, our focus isn’t exclusively on Manchester United. The main thing is trying to play our football and winning games. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in the last three matches.
“We have a big opportunity on Sunday against Manchester United and hopefully we can be the winners.”
What RTK has to say
Make no mistake, this game is massive! Indeed, Liverpool need to win to reclaim top-spot, but even more importantly, the Reds cannot afford to lose. Falling six points off the pace is a big gap to claw back, especially in the midst of an injury crisis.
There is no doubt Klopp will name a starting XI with an array of world-class players. The main issue, however, is unlike United, the Reds lack cover in key positions.
Of course, Liverpool’s notorious defensive struggles this season have been well-documented. Klopp is currently without all three of his senior centre-backs, after all.
With that said, Fabinho has deputised magnificently in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. The latter of which, could still be available Sunday.
This could be key to the outcome of the result. Liverpool will require a player of experience to contain the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, after all.
Matip could be the perfect solution. It’s vital, then, that the Cameroonian is fit for Sunday’s do-or-die showdown. Without him, Liverpool could be in big trouble.