With three points separating the two sides in the Premier League, Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield on Monday (17 October). Ahead of kick-off, IBTimes UK considers some of the major selection and tactical decisions facing Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho.
Will Emre Can be brought in?
Barring that blip at Burnley, Jurgen Klopp appears to have found midfield harmony at last in the trio of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana. Two of those three remain doubts ahead of Monday's clash at Anfield, however, after Lallana picked up a groin problem in the late win over Swansea City before the international break, while Wijnaldum limped off while playing for Netherlands against France. Speaking to the press on Friday, Klopp insisted neither man is ruled out, but will he risk starting two players coming back after such a short recovery period?
Emre Can returned to pre-season late after his Euro 2016 campaign with Germany and an ankle injury suffered in an EFL Cup tie against Burton Albion in September provided further disruption to his season. While he is yet to start a game this season, he could provide both a strong and mobile presence in the middle of the park should Wijnaldum be unavailable.
Will Luke Shaw automatically come back into the team?
Luke Shaw started the season like last year's horrific double leg break never happened. But after being peculiarly singled out by his manager for criticism after the 3-1 defeat to Watford in September, it was subsequently revealed the England international had been suffering with a slight groin problem.
Speaking to the press on Friday, Mourinho assured Shaw is available, but an automatic return to the starting XI isn't assured. Daley Blind filled in impressively against both Leicester City and Stoke City, with his range of passing from the back a valuable commodity seeing as United's midfield is still lacking a consistent cutting edge. While the Dutchman's lack of pace is no secret, his exceptional one-on-one defending often makes up for it. Mourinho has two very good options in that position and it ultimately may come down to whether he feels Shaw can start a game, having not done so in almost a month.
Will Jose Mourinho risk using Marouane Fellaini against Liverpool's high tempo?
A woeful performance in that Watford defeat from Fellaini prompted Mourinho to hand Ander Herrera a chance in a more destructive midfield role. The Spaniard was excellent in the 4-1 win over Leicester City the following week and has relished his manager's challenge to adapt his game in a deeper role. But Fellaini does have one thing the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder doesn't have. The Belgian's threat from set pieces has so often been his saving grace; it was after all his header that came off the cross bar allowing Wayne Rooney to score the winner at Anfield last season. And with Liverpool's well-documented problems defending from set pieces (see below), his return could beckon.
Can United expose Liverpool's set piece weaknesses?
While Liverpool have been dazzling at times this season, problems remain at the back. Since Klopp's appointment, Liverpool have conceded 16 goals from corners and free kicks, the latest coming in their last Premier League outing at Swansea City. New personnel hasn't solved the issue. United meanwhile have been increasingly effective in such positions, with goals from Chris Smalling, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba in the win over Leicester all coming direct from corner kicks. Add the formidable presences of Eric Bailly and Fellaini to the equation and it's clear Liverpool are at a disadvantage.
Can Sadio Mane prove United made a big mistake not signing him?
After Manchester United saw their £25m bid for Sadio Mane turned down by Southampton in January, they didn't return in the summer. Liverpool instead paid the £34m needed to sway the Saints and the Senegal international has already proven to be a superb addition to Klopp's free-flowing forward options. In Bailly and Smalling, United have one of the quickest centre-half combinations in the league, but Mane's trickery and superb ability to pull men out of position will be a stern test of their understanding as a unit.