Ashley Young was credited with keeping a lock on Salah at Old Trafford, leading to an entertaining battle on social media between the pair. The Red Devil initially made an Instagram post refuting rumours Salah was in his pocket, before the Egyptian responded with how much he was looking forward to the Champions League draw after United were eliminated by Sevilla. All good, clean fun.
Liverpool vs Watford
Mohamed Salah vs Troy Deeney
It also means Liverpool’s ace attacking weapon - who is level with Tottenham’s Harry Kane on 24 goals in the race for this year’s Golden Boot - will want to bounce back quickly and Watford could be ripe for the picking.
At the other end of the pitch, Deeney will surely be key to Watford’s hopes of taking something from Anfield. The burly front man scored the only goals in his side’s consecutive 1-0 wins over Everton and West Brom prior to the Arsenal defeat so will be full of confidence against a sometimes-suspect Liverpool defence.
Last time these teams met, Deeney famously accused the Gunners of lacking “cojones” following Watford’s 2-1 victory back in October.
It will be interesting to see whether the Arsenal players remember that comment and take the fight up to the Watford frontman, although considering their lack of confidence right now, it wouldn’t surprise to see them approach him in the same meek manner in which they’ve been approaching games of late.
Arsenal vs Watford
Troy Deeney vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang did get on the scoresheet in the loss to Brighton and while the former Borussia Dortmund star could be forgiven for wondering what he has walked into at Arsenal, surely he is also a key to dragging them out of it?
Lukaku found himself facing some criticism after a statistic emerged that he had a dismal return against the EPL’s top six teams this season, failing to register a single shot on target.
But he quickly put that to rest after scoring the equaliser against Chelsea following some neat lead-up play by the Red Devils.
Manchester United vs Liverpool
Romelu Lukaku vs Loris Karius
Karius has faced plenty of criticism of his own this season, but has largely responded well since being officially annointed Liverpool’s No.1 keeper for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign.
Lukaku is sure to get a chance or two against the young German and how the keeper responds could well help decide this fixture.
Chelsea’s big money summer signing Alvaro Morata has struggled in recent times and seems to be a man low on confidence. Lacklustre against the Red Devils where he missed a glorious chance to open the scoring, Morata has failed to score in his last ten matches for Chelsea. He has 10 goals in the league this season though - proof that Morata knows how to find the back of the net, he desperately needs to get on the scoresheet to stop the rot.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Alvaro Morata vs Vincent Kompany
Kompany has been a man plagued with injuries over the years, but when fit, the big Belgian is a commanding presence at the back. He was immensely impressive in the Citizens’ cup final victory over Arsenal and Pep Guardiola’s side will need him to be on the top of his game to frustrate Morata.
Understandably, Mohamed Salah’s goalscoring exploits are garnering most of the attention over at Anfield, but close observers are well aware just how important Firmino is to their attacking set-up. You only have to hear Jurgen Klopp’s gushing praise of the Brazilian to understand how much he values his No.9.
Liverpool vs Newcastle United
Roberto Firmino vs Dwight Gayle
Gayle, Newcastle’s own No.9, has gradually improved after a slow start to the season, with his brace against the Cherries at least ensuring Newcastle left Vitality Stadium with a share of the spoils. For them to also take anything from Anfield, you figure the Englishman will need to be heavily involved.
He also has form against this opposition, scoring against Liverpool in consecutive seasons while with Crystal Palace back in 2013 and 2014.
We usually save this section for an on-pitch match-up, but with City flying and Arsenal in free-fall, Arsene Wenger will need to reach to the very bottom of his two-decade-plus bag of managerial tricks to find a way to get his team a badly needed three points.
Following a season-long adjustment to the English game last season, Guardiola has his team right where he wants it - apart from that rare slip against Wigan - and the Citizens are still on track for a treble of trophies in 2017/18.
Arsenal vs Manchester City
Arsene Wenger vs Pep Guardiola
If Wenger has any hope of keeping those howling critics from his door for a day or two and avoid a heavy home defeat, he will need to be at his coaching best in this one.