Last season Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regularly went to a back three when facing the biggest sides, giving Manchester United a bit more solidity defensively and relying on the counter-attack to hurt the opposition.
That was the case at Anfield 363 days ago and it kept United in the game until virtually the last kick.
But this season the back three has been used only twice, in Champions League away days against Paris St-Germain and RB Leipzig.
Now it would be a surprise if it’s rolled out at Anfield and that in itself is a sign of progress for United. In a year since the last visit to Liverpool they’ve gone from a side who looked to stay tight and stay in these games to one that will feel comfortable trying to go toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Now it’s all about getting United’s best and most dangerous players on the pitch, rather than adding an extra defender to try and keep things tight.
United will travel down the M62 on Sunday knowing virtually all of the pressure is on the hosts at Anfield.
This is as close to a free hit as this type of game will ever get for Solskjaer’s side. They might be three points clear at the top, but nobody expected them to be in this position and plenty of people still expect them to fall away.
For Liverpool, the defence of their title has begun to creak recently. They’ve picked up just two points in their last three games so really need a victory here to get back on track.
They’re also defending a 67-game unbeaten league run at Anfield, a stretch of form that has become even more vital with their away record so average this season.
In every conceivable way, they are the team under pressure this weekend. United will sense an opportunity, which will bring a degree of pressure as well, but it’s nothing compared to what will be resting on Liverpool’s shoulders.
That last visit to Anfield just two days short of a year ago is relevant for another reason, as it’s the last time United lost a domestic away game.
That staggering record was extended to 22 fixtures at Burnley in midweek and while there are some caveats, such as the neutral venue defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final and some pretty wretched Champions League away days, it’s still a record to be proud of.
United have had to come from behind in six Premier League away games this season but that they did so shows how confident they are on the road now.
Games at Old Trafford might have been a little more challenging this season, but away from home United are getting the best out of their forwards and they will fancy their chances of exposing a weak Liverpool defence.
Manchester United secured a vital 1-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night to go top of the Premier League.
Paul Pogba scored the decisive goal in a hard-fought contest at Turf Moor, meaning United are now three points clear of Liverpool — who they face this weekend at Anfield.
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The build-up to this game has been dominated by talk of penalties, particularly from the moment Klopp brought United’s record of winning penalties into his post-match complaints at Southampton.
There is a theory that his comments - as well as several other high-profile figures questioning the number of penalties United have won - will have got into the head of referee Paul Tierney, with Bruno Fernandes also under the microscope.
While Klopp might have been angry after Liverpool’s lacklustre defeat at Southampton, the fact is hardly any of United’s penalties this season or last can really be called dubious.
But the dye has been cast now and every appeal for a penalty today will be scrutinised in detail.
Aside from what system to use Solskjaer’s biggest selection headache might lie in his front three and who to play on the left.
At Burnley it was Anthony Martial, with Edinson Cavani central and Marcus Rashford on the right.
But Rashford has had some joy against Trent Alexander-Arnold when coming up against Liverpool’s right-back previously, which is something for Solskjaer to consider.
The other possibility is using Paul Pogba there. It would keep him in the side and take him out of the firing line in a holding midfield role. Pogba could also congest the midfield if United find themselves under pressure.
There’s plenty for Solskjaer to think about when constructing his attack.