What a week is for Liverpool.

If the dust settles at Old Trafford next Sunday afternoon, the Reds could have three points ahead of the Premier League table and have a foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

On the way of Jürgen Klopp are two well-known enemies – both of them really want to throw a wrench into the factory.

After four days out of the spotlight in the tranquil setting of Marbella, the steam cooker returns to fight for the two biggest prizes in the game.

First, Bayern Munich is in the last 16 of the Champions League in Anfield on Tuesday night. It is a delicious duel against a team that Klopp knows from his time at Borussia Dortmund.

Having done wonders to knock off Bayern with consecutive Bundesliga titles, they had long since climbed back on it before Klopp decided that the time had come to pursue a new challenge. His loyalty to Dortmund will guarantee him the hottest receptions of his compatriots.

There is no chance that Klopp strives for the Reds after the Premier League before the Champions League. Nobody will rest with an eye on Old Trafford.

The Reds boss believes he has a squad that can handle a challenge on both fronts, and that the impetus generated by European progress is more likely to hinder form in their own country.

Continue reading

Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

Klopp has restored Liverpool's reputation as a formidable force throughout the continent over the past season. He will not give it up without a fight. This is now a stronger, more complete team than the team that made all the way to Kiev last May. Madrid on June 1 is the destination.

For two European heavyweights with so much history in the competition it is crazy to believe that the Bavarians are no longer Anfield since 1981. The atmosphere will be electric, because Liverpool wants to bring his authority to the point.

Since Virgil van Dijk is banned and Dejan Lovren is a great doubt, mastering a provisional center-back combination is far from ideal, but on home soil it is a competition that Liverpool should certainly dominate in terms of ownership and territory.

Then Klopp has five days to prepare for the club's biggest domestic encounter since the 2014 title race.

Video is loading

Video not available

With Manchester City, which faces the final of the League Cup in Chelsea the same day, Liverpool is in the hand.

Manchester United was irrelevant to Liverpool for much of the season. The Reds could barely see them in their rearview mirrors, while their arch rivals had been cut off so far.

United was humble in Anfield in December when Klopp gave Jose Mourinho's reign the last stroke of fate.

But for the exploits of David de Gea and the shaking the Reds had to endure after Alisson Becker's mistake, which allowed Jesse Lingard to cancel Sadio Mane's kick-off, would have been an absolute annihilation.

Mohamed Salah celebrates after Xherdan Shaqiri scored Liverpool's second goal against Manchester United in December
Mohamed Salah celebrates after Xherdan Shaqiri scored Liverpool's second goal against Manchester United in December

However, this is another United. Since the takeover of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer they have 25 out of 27 possible points. Faith has been restored, and those who have cut off tools have taken them up again.

The defeated European defeat by Paris Saint-Germain was a reality check for United but there is no doubt that this is the toughest test that Liverpool will face in the 12-run final.

The only thing worse for United fans than watching Manchester City's neighbors keep the Premier League crown is the prospect that Jordan Henderson will raise the trophy in May.

Once Liverpool tried to ruin United's party, roles are now reserved. It will be hostile and you can guarantee that United will be set on fire.

Liverpool's record at Old Trafford is bad. Brendan Rodgers '3-0 win in March 2014 is the only victory of the Reds' last 12 visits in all competitions. Since that win, Liverpool have won two draws and lost three away games against United.

But Liverpool has not been there in this form before. Their boast was back in Bournemouth's impressive defeat last weekend.

Stay up to date with the latest news about Liverpool and transfer rumors here

United Away is too far away to be considered season-setting. But winning in their backyard would be a big step on the path to the Holy Grail, and part of the spoils would hold the fate of the Reds in their own hands. Conversely, a defeat would be a physical blow and the initiative should be handed over to City.

Two titanic bouts await you. The stakes are getting higher.

Continue reading

Read the Liverpool FC stories from the last 24 hours

,