Liverpool v Manchester United, 4.30 pm Sunday 19th January
It comes as a surprise that, despite these clubs, respective fortunes since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, Man United has the slight upper hand in recent years in what is still arguably the biggest game in English football.
They’ve met sixteen times since Fergie’s departure, with the Red Devils winning five and the side the former United boss vowed to ‘knock off their perch’ triumphing on four occasions.
The seven stalemates include two draws with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Ferguson’s former hot seat. Of course, he’s the only manager to take points off the runaway leaders in the league this season, following a 1-1 draw in October. He’d certainly take a draw on Sunday, which is the best price of 19/5. Both those games came at Old Trafford, though, and the Norwegian boss will be conscious of the fact that a 3-1 defeat at Anfield last December signaled the end of his predecessor Jose Mourinho’s reign.
We fancy something along similar lines to that result thirteen months ago. Indeed, another 3-1 home win looks good value at 12/1. Jurgen Klopp’s side has won their last six Premier League games to nil but that run has to come to an end sometime and we fancy that to happen on Sunday. The Reds haven’t beaten their bitter rivals in the league, while keeping a clean sheet, since 2014 when the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez were still plying their trade on Merseyside.
Despite their woes in recent seasons, United have scored in seven of their last ten league games against the European and World champions. The other three ended scoreless, which we just can’t see happening this weekend. Both teams to score is quite short at 10/11 but is certainly worth considering. A home win and both teams to net looks a much better bet at 19/10. And if you fancy a first United league win at Anfield in four years, an away win and both teams to score jumps out at a massive 10/1.
In-form Marcus Rashford has scored three of United’s last four goals against the league leaders and he has scored more Premier League goals this season than anyone but Jamie Vardy. However, he picked up a back injury in United’s FA Cup replay against Wolves, which we correctly predicted would end 1-0. Should he lose his fitness battle, Anthony Martial should lead the line and he’s 7/1 to nab the first goal and 11/5 to score across 90 minutes.
Liverpool may boast the most exciting, and potent, attacking trio in world football but United have done well in recent years to keep Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino quiet. Only the former has netted in the league against United, with Pool relying on the likes of Adam Lallana, Xerdan Shaqiri and an Eric Bailly own goal to get on the score-sheet in recent times. If you fancy another unlikely scorer on Sunday, Dutchmen Gini Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk are always worth considering. Wijnaldum is 13/2 to net anytime and a generous looking 18/1 to score the opener. Meanwhile, the world’s second most expensive defender – after United’s Harry Maguire – is 5/1 to net at any time and 14/1 to get the first one.
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