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giants collide How do you solve a problem like Mohamed Salah? It would give me sleepless nights

Salah is probably the world's best and Klopp has Pool purring but if Ronaldo shines hosts may just nick it


 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Photo credit should read Nigel French/PA Wire.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Photo credit should read Nigel French/PA Wire.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Photo credit should read Nigel French/PA Wire.

HOW do you solve a problem like Mohamed Salah?

It's a question that would have given me a sleepless night if I was in the Manchester United defence with Harry Maguire for today's mouth-watering game against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

There has been a lot of talk about Salah being the best player in the world right now after his performances over the last few weeks and it's hard to argue with that assessment.

He has scored in his last nine matches for Liverpool and some of the goals he has served up have been sensational.

From what I've seen of him over the last couple of months, Salah has been close to unstoppable and that means squaring up to him is a daunting prospect for any defender.

I remember Peter Beardsley putting me on my backside when he did one of his little dancing runs into the box and looking up as he smashed the ball into the back of the net wondering what had just happened.

Well, from what we've seen this season, Salah would almost certainly have done the same to me because everything he executes is done at high speed and with so much disguise.

A lot of attacking players have a little trick they tend to use time and again, but Salah is not like that because he comes up with new moves every week and they all seem to end with him smashing the ball in the back of the net.

He's fantastic to watch and while my alliances will always be with United when they play Liverpool, I have to admit I've enjoyed watching Jurgen Klopp's side in action over the last few months.

They look to be getting back to the dominant form they were in a couple of years ago, when they ran away with the Premier League and won the title with plenty to spare.

You have to admire what Klopp has done at Liverpool because he spends nothing like the cash Manchester City, Chelsea and United splash in the transfer market and yet he has a team that is one of the best Europe right now.

He just seems to have the perfect balance when it comes to dealing with players as he seems to get them at it in every game and seems to have them all on side.

That's not easy in football these days, with players like Paul Pogba highlighting the challenge of handling footballers who are as much about promoting their own brand as they are working for the team.

Klopp has some of the best players in the world at Liverpool, but they all seem driven to work their hearts out for the team whether they are playing Burnley or Manchester United and that's why they are title contenders this season.

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It might be too early in the season to say Liverpool are favourites to win the league title because Manchester City and Chelsea are right in the mix as well, but there is no doubt that Klopp's men are back to their best.

That's bad news for Manchester United and their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who keeps dodging the bullet at Old Trafford just when you think that his time is up.

We had another example of that on Wednesday night, as United came from 2-0 down against Atalanta and found a way to win courtesy of a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal.

United were pretty dreadful in the first half of that Champions League game and they were all over the place defensively against Leicester last weekend, but they won't get away with that kind of display against Liverpool.

Klopp's in-form side will blow them into submission if they are slacking in any area of the field and even though I don't think the United players have turned against Solskjaer, they are a group that can't be relied upon to shine every week.

The good news for fans of my old club is United tend to turn up for the big games and that's why I'm confident they will be at it in front of a passionate Old Trafford crowd today.

Solskjaer's record in the games against the top sides in the Premier League hasn't been too bad in his time as United manager and even going back to my time at the club, we always did okay against Liverpool.

In the mid-1980s, the team I was in were just keen to do everything we could to try to catch a Liverpool side that were winning everything, but this game always brought out the best in United.

We knew what it meant to the fans and even though Liverpool have a local rivalry with Everton and United's clashes with Man City have meant more in recent years, the match we will all be watching this afternoon will always be the biggest in English football.

United and Liverpool have the biggest supporter bases in their home country and around the world and I've been looking forward to this game all week, as it has the potential to be a cracker.

While most people will be expecting Liverpool to win and on form they are the better team, don't write off United.

Ronaldo will relish a game of this magnitude and United have players in their ranks who can hurt Liverpool, so long as they put in a team effort and make the most of the chances they create.

The news might be full of misery amid the never-ending menace of Covid, but football is our joyous passport out of the mad world we are living in for a couple of hours every week and let's be grateful for the show that will be presented this afternoon.

My prediction? Okay, maybe I'm allowing my heart to rule my head here, but I'm going for a 3-2 win for United in what should be a classic match.

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