Manchester United’s game in hand against Burnley has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 12.
The Turf Moor fixture was due to be played on the opening weekend of the Premier League season but it was called off with United handed an extra week to prepare for the new campaign, as a result of their European commitments in August.
United haven’t yet had a free midweek this season but they had no game in the second week of January, with the Premier League giving clubs a midweek off in lieu of the two-week winter break that was introduced last season.
By rearranging it for January 12 (8pm kick-off), United have the chance to move level with Liverpool on games played ahead of the trip to Anfield on Sunday, January 17. The Turf Moor clash will be screened live on Sky Sports.
United have won seven and drawn two of their last nine Premier League games to close the gap on the defending champions to just three points.
If they beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day and win the game in hand at Turf Moor they will be guaranteed to be level on points, at least, with Liverpool before the crucial clash on Merseyside.
Liverpool’s only Premier League fixture before then is a trip to Southampton on January 3.
By scheduling the game for the free midweek in January United are avoiding a potential pile-up of games later in the season, should their Europa League commitments extend deep into the competition.
If they beat Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final next week it will mean their game away at Leeds United, scheduled for the weekend of the final on April 24/25, will have to be rearranged, while there is also the danger of more Covid-enforced postponements, with two games falling this week as a result of outbreaks at Manchester City and Fulham.