Manchester United go to Liverpool looking to deal a huge gutpunch to Jurgen Klopp’s side, knowing they could put six points between themselves and the current Premier League champions with a victory at Anfield.
But there are few more formidable venues than Liverpool’s home ground, where they are unbeaten since April 2017 – a club-record run of 66 consecutive matches without defeat.
Since the start of the 2018-19 season, Liverpool have won 42 of 46 home league games including a stunning 24 straight between February 2019 and July 2020.
Crystal Palace were the last away team victorious against the Reds in the league and since then United have lost twice and drawn twice, being downed 3-1 and 2-0 in their two most recent meetings on Merseyside.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men come into this latest showdown with the confidence and rhythm that they didn’t have for either of those two games, having ended the day top of the table for the first time since 2013 by beating Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
The Red Devils’ gritty 1-0 triumph thanks to Paul Pogba’s deflected second-half volley was the kind of resilient, hard-fought victory often described as the kind champions churn out. Liverpool had plenty of them last season.
And with this weekend’s trip to Liverpool – one in which United can underline their title credentials – United can perhaps rubber-stamp their status as the best team away from home in the Premier League.
Since their last match at Anfield on 19 January 2020, United are 15 unbeaten in top-flight away games and racked up 10 straight wins between June and December.
Only four other top-flight teams have ever managed 10 back-to-back away wins after Tottenham in 1960, Chelsea in 2008 and Manchester City in 2017
United also managed to score at least twice in every game in that 10-match winning streak, the best goalscoring run any team has managed since the title-winning Spurs team of 1960.
No surprise then is that United are top of the Premier League away table this season, with seven wins and draws from eight games, with Leicester also on 22 points.
But the Foxes have played one match more on the road than Solskjaer’s charges, who have scored a league-high 22 goals in eight away games.
The criticism of United’s 15-game unbeaten away run is that their three of their most difficult matches have resulted in draws.
They drew back-to-back away games at Everton and Tottenham either side of the league’s lockdown and drew 2-2 on Boxing Day at Leicester after giving up a late equaliser.
But they have also beaten both the Toffees and the Foxes away from home in that run too, winning 3-1 at Goodison Park this season in November a Bruno Fernandes-inspired triumph.
They also came up with a crucial 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium last season in July in a winner-takes-all match which sealed Champions League qualification and denied Leicester a top-four spot.
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United have not played Manchester City, the other toughest team to visit bar Liverpool, in their current run but did win on their last trip there in December 2019.
They travel to both City in March and Tottenham in April in what could be pivotal matches for the final destination of this season’s title, while trips to Chelsea in February, Leeds in April and Aston Villa and Wolves in May will also test the mettle.
What is for sure is that United are a completely different outfit on the road to the team they were in 2019.
They started with six straight away wins once Solskjaer took over in December 2018 but then went on an eight-game winless streak away from Old Trafford across the end of the 2018-19 campaign and the start of 2019-20.
Between the start of last season and the January 2020 loss at Liverpool, they only won three of 12 matches on their travels, away at Norwich, City and Burnley.
But their run since their last journey across the M62 to face Liverpool speaks for itself and United are now a team to be reckoned with.
If they can come away with three points at Liverpool this weekend, it’s hard to argue against United being the best away team in the division. Continue their improved Old Trafford form and City and Liverpool have a lot to be fearful of.