sport news Man United have scored 17 goals MORE than rivals Liverpool since Christmas in ...

When Christmas rolled around, reigning champions Liverpool once again looked like the team to beat in the Premier League.

On December 19, Liverpool had just thrashed Crystal Palace 7-0 away from home with deadly trio Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane all getting on the scoresheet - moving five points clear at the top of the table.

With teams continuing to falter around them, Jurgen Klopp's men had big hopes of asserting their dominance on the Premier League by winning a second consecutive top-flight title.

Sadio Mane and the rest of Liverpool's attack have been extremely wasteful since Christmas

Sadio Mane and the rest of Liverpool's attack have been extremely wasteful since Christmas

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Roberto Firmino has failed to reproduce the goods following Liverpool's title win last season

Roberto Firmino has failed to reproduce the goods following Liverpool's title win last season

MOST GOALS SCORED BY TEAMS IN PREMIER LEAGUE (STATS VIA OPTA) PL since December 25 Games Goals Expected Goals Man City 20 50 40.6 Man United 20 36 32.9 Leicester 19 34 26.4 Arsenal 19 32 30.4 West Ham 19 32 28.4 Tottenham 19 31 25.5 Leeds 19 26 23.9 Aston Villa 20 22 26.7 Burnley 20 22 21.3 Chelsea 19 22 30 West Brom 19 20 22.3 Newcastle 20 19 21.4 Liverpool 19 19 30.3 Everton 18 19 18.5 Wolves 19 18 18.9 Brighton 19 17 26.2 Southampton 18 15 18 Crystal Palace 18 15 11.4 Fulham 19 12 19.6 Sheffield United 19 10 15.2

But what followed after Christmas has been nothing short of a nightmare and this weekend could see a dominant Manchester City take the crown off the Reds. But City need to win and Liverpool must beat United for that to happen.

Not only did they dramatically collapse in the title race, but Liverpool are now under serious threat of missing out on Champions League football altogether - sitting sixth with five games left, four points behind Chelsea in fourth. 

And while plenty can be said about the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the heart of defence, while a more recent injury to skipper Jordan Henderson certainly hasn't helped, Liverpool are now a shadow of their former selves in attack.

Salah, Firmino and Mane were in scintillating form last season as the club wrapped up their first-ever Premier League title, but now a lack of firepower is seriously hampering their ambitions as a team.

Liverpool rock up against arch rivals at Old Trafford this weekend a wounded animal. And the stark contrast between both sides in attack is there for all to see.

Last season, Liverpool scored a staggering 85 goals throughout the Premier League compared to United's 66. Only Pep Guardiola's City side netted more than the Reds with a ridiculous 102. 

Liverpool have been counting on Mohamed Salah to deliver up front amid their alarming slump

Liverpool have been counting on Mohamed Salah to deliver up front amid their alarming slump

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LIVERPOOL'S ATTACKERS SINCE CHRISTMAS DAY  PL since Dec 25 Mohamed Salah Sadio Mane Roberto Firmino Diogo Jota Games played 19 17 17 7 Minutes played 1553 1374 1357 458 Goals 7 3 1 3 Expected goals 8.9 6.2 5.2 2.45 Mins/goal 221.9 458 1357 152.7 Big chance total 17 13 8 4 Big chance scored 4 3 1 2 Big chance missed 13 10 7 2 Big chance conversion % 23.5 23.1 12.5 50 Assists 0 3 2 0 Chances created 20 30 19 6

And Liverpool's rampant form up top continued into this season, but since Christmas their attacking prowess has fallen off the cliff.

Liverpool have scored just 19 goals overall in as many matches in the top-flight since Christmas, while Sunday's opponents United - who have been City's closest title challengers this term -  have 36.

In fact, Liverpool find themselves in the bottom half of the table in terms of goals scored since Christmas, sitting 13th. The likes of West Brom and Burnley have more. It's a far cry from last season.

And when you specifically look at comparisons between the respective frontlines,  it's not hard to see why there has been a change of guard.

Take Salah out of the equation for Liverpool, and Mane and Firmino have been wasteful up top without Diogo Jota for much of the last five months.

Jota's absence with a long-term knee injury came as a massive blow to Liverpool after his excellent start to life at Anfield. Before his setback, the Portuguese star had five Premier League goals and was delivering in the Champions League, keeping Firmino out of the team. 

But after returning to full fitness, he has just three goals in the top-flight - scoring every 152.7 minutes - meaning Salah, Mane and Firmino must come up trumps.

But for Man United, they are sharing the goals around and have put Liverpool's attack to shame

But for Man United, they are sharing the goals around and have put Liverpool's attack to shame

MAN UNITED'S ATTACKERS

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