Liverpool v Manchester United – How the media have built up Saturday's Anfield showdown – Liverpool Echo

The biggest fixture in English football once again swings its way into focus as Liverpool host Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime.

With 38 league titles between the two clubs, there can be little argument about the size of the fixture, and the long-running rivalry cuts deep – Saturday’s game will be the 227th meeting between the sides.

Liverpool are hoping to end a miserable run of just one win in seven, while Jose Mourinho will be looking to take his side top of the Premier League with a win at Anfield.

The game has been gaining attention on these pages for some time, but just how has it been built up elsewhere?

We’ve taken a look at how this massive fixture has been talked up across other media outlets this week.

The Independent ‘s Miguel Delaney has argued that this fixture comes at a bad time for Jurgen Klopp’s stuttering Reds .

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp’s side have won just one in seven

He writes: “Over the last two weeks, Jurgen Klopp has been using the extra time from the international break to deeply think about whether he should make changes to his Liverpool side – and to what extent.

“The German has been anxious to figure out what has been going wrong with his team, why a previously free-flowing attack has stopped scoring and started being so undercut by disfunction in a defence that already required work. It’s all piling up.

“Part of that work, and something that will greatly indicate just how much he is going to change in the longer term, has been preparation for Saturday’s home match against Manchester United.

“It really couldn’t have come at a worse time for Liverpool. They so need to alter something to get back to their best form, while United are on supreme form.”

Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho on the the touchline during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail thinks the two clubs aren’t as similar as they are often painted to be.

“It is often said that Liverpool and United are similar but that is only true up to a point,” writes Ian.

“United are currently a club defined by trophies, whereas Liverpool are fuelled in part by romantic notions and the promise of better days ahead. Back in the day —when Liverpool were tearing it up under Bob Paisley and others — it was actually the other way round.

“United, for example, are coming off the back of four ‘fallow’ seasons following Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. In that time of relative struggle they have won three major trophies.

“Liverpool, supposedly the more progressive club under Klopp and previously Brendan Rodgers, have won one trophy — the League Cup in 2012 – in more than 11 years.

That is a dreadful, embarrassing run for a club of their stature and so far the closest they have come to improving it was losing two finals in Klopp’s first season.”

Roberto Firmino and Juan Mata battle for possession in March 2016 (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph thinks Sadio Mane’s injury should present Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the opportunity to prove himself following his £35m switch from Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

“There is plenty he can do to ensure Mane’s injury is a setback rather than catastrophe,” says the former ECHO scribe.

“For a start, today should be the day Klopp pulls aside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and reminds him he is Liverpool’s record signing. Six weeks on from his arrival would be an appropriate moment to start playing a bit of football.

“Naturally, Klopp will have his own way of getting into mind of the former Arsenal midfielder, but the politest way of putting it would be thus.

“‘Alex, any chance of showing everyone what you can do now? The need is great.’

“Oxlade-Chamberlain is not the only player who needs to step up – and that would have been the case without Mane’s injury.”

Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool January 2017

In The Mirror ‘s five talking points, Jake Polden questions whether Klopp will ever sort out his defensive problems.

“Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven games in all competitions and currently hold the joint 15th worst record for conceding goals in the Premier League.

“Much was made of Klopp attempting to sign Virgil van Dyke in the summer, failing to do so in rather embarrassing circumstances, and moving on from the target.

“He later claimed he was more than happy with his defence, putting his faith in the ever-rotated pairing of Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren, alongside Joel Matip.

“But the duo – along with the error prone Loris Karius – have been less than convincing this season in both the league and in Europe.

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho in action against Manchester United at Old Trafford (Photo by James Maloney)

“They’ll have to be at their very best this weekend though – the fans will demand it – especially if they are to get anything against a rampant Man United team who have found the back of the net 21 times this season.”

Gareth Roberts of the Anfield Wrap gave his musings on the historic rivalry to Unibet.

“For a long, long time Liverpool had a legitimate claim to be the number one, the cock of north. More trophies, more titles, more European Cups. All they had to cling to was a bigger ground.

“We told them to ‘come back when they’d won 18’. No-one ever thought for a minute it would happen. But then as things started to go wrong at Liverpool, things started to go right at Old Trafford.

James MIlner scores from the penalty spot to put Liverpool ahead at Old Trafford on January 15, 2017

“While on Merseyside rampant commercialism and chasing the pound was frowned upon, in Manchester it was embraced. It turned out they were right. They spotted the direction of travel and took the turn off. Liverpool fell asleep at the wheel and careered off into a ditch.

“And now, in 2017, the boot is on the other foot. No one here needs reminding they have 20 in the cabinet. They’ll remind us anyway of course. And you would, wouldn’t you?”

Sports Mole ‘s Barney Corkhill says Klopp won’t be altering his approach for the game, despite the prospect of a 10-point deficit should United win.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is closed down by Dejan Lovren at Anfield on October 17, 2016 (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Barney writes: “Describing this match as a must-win game for Liverpool would be premature – they have only lost once in the Premier League this season and are only one point off the top four, after all – but it is verging on a must-not-lose contest if the Reds have any serious designs on challenging for the title.

“Jurgen Klopp’s style isn’t exactly conducive to favouring not losing over winning, though, and the German is highly unlikely to change his philosophy for United’s visit this weekend, despite his side going seven matches without a clean sheet across all competitions and only West Ham United and Crystal Palace having conceded more Premier League goals this season.”