3 Key Battles That Could Decide Manchester United's Clash With Liverpool This Saturday

Both Liverpool and Manchester United have been in fine form recently, and both teams will be looking to continue their good run this Saturday.

The top of the table is particularly tight at the moment, with only two points separating the two rivals in 2nd and 3rd position. The old enemies will both be looking to come away not only with bragging rights, but with all three points too. 

Here's three battles that could play a role in deciding the outcome:

3. Ashley Young vs Mohamed Salah

Hailed as the 'Egyptian King', Mohamed Salah is the signing of the season. The Egyptian is seemingly unstoppable at the moment, and is a clear contender for the Golden Boot & PFA Player of the Year. It is fair to say that Salah keeps Premier League left backs up at night with nightmares of taking him on.

This week it is Ashley Young that is faced with the unfortunate task of taming the Egyptian. Salah's electric pace, tight control and sublime finishing make him a big threat to United this Saturday, and Young will have to be exceptional this weekend in order to stop him. 

2. Virgil van Dijk vs Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is currently enjoying a decent goalscoring run, but has also played an important role in United's overall attack, contributing in some way or another to the team's goal tally. Jose Mourinho will no doubt be hoping that his number nine is on top form for the clash this weekend, especially as the Belgian will come up against Virgil van Dijk. 

Since his arrival at Anfield in January, Van Dijk has transformed Liverpool's back four, bringing in much needed calm and control to the defence. The defensive rock will be focused on bringing some of this defensive magic to his performance on Saturday, hoping to keep Lukaku off the scoresheet.

1. Chris Smalling vs Roberto Firmino

If Lukaku is hoping to trouble Liverpool's defence, then Roberto Firmino will most definitely be threatening United's. Chris Smalling faces a tough task handling the Brazilian this weekend.

The centre back will have to keep a close eye on the Brazilian forward's sharp, intelligent movements that allow him to weave his way past defenders. Smalling has faced some criticism of his performances lately, however, he has the chance to redeem himself this Saturday if he can manage to fend off Firmino.