Despite the current position of the hosts, Manchester United vs Liverpool is still one of the biggest games, not just in English football, but world football.
The two most successful sides in English football history, and bitter rivals, clash at Old Trafford on Sunday, with both clubs on separate trajectories.
From the mid 90s right up until the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United dominated their north-west rivals.
They eclipsed Liverpool’s 18 league titles, with 20 of their own (playing football the Busby way, according to the chant that rings round the Stretford End.) But since Ferguson’s retirement, United have found themselves on the slide, while Liverpool’s fortunes have improved dramatically.
Both clubs are currently a reflection of how they are run. United have been accused of being a commercial business first, and a football club second.
£1billion has been spent since Sir Alex departed, and the squad is the result of a mixture from five different managers, resulting in a team that has had its worst start to a league season for 30 years, the apex of this being the 1-0 loss to Newcastle at St James Park, before the international break.
Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has bemoaned injuries and he has been very unlucky with those this season, but the lack of replacing Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, and Ander Herrera has cost United hugely, and with a football style that can be described as out of sorts at best, United fairly reflect their current position of 12th.
Liverpool have been astonishing this season, searching for their 18th successive Premier League win in a row, and they also reflect a club with a focus on football vs commercialism.
Jurgen Klopp has been able to identify and bring in the players that would fit the style he wishes to play. He was rumoured to have spoken to United about the manager’s job in 2014, but expressed his concern at a club that put business before football.
Klopp has one record he’ll be desperate to claim, and that is the fact Liverpool have yet to win at Old Trafford under his stewardship.
For United, this game probably couldn’t have come at a worse time. The team, lacking both form and confidence (David De Gea was at a loss for words to explain the Newcastle defeat), also have a depleted squad.
Their only genuinely world class players - Paul Pogba and De Gea - are both out through injury. The silver lining of De Gea's injury is that they have a more than capable deputy in Sergio Romero. But without Pogba, United look lightweight in midfield. However, Solskajer could have Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka back for the game.
For Liverpool, high on confidence and form, they will be looking to take full advantage of United’s current situation, and should have pretty much a full XI to do so.
Klopp should be able to pick Alisson for the first time since the opening day of the season. The Brazilian goalkeeper has not played since injuring his calf against Norwich, but he returned to training this week.
Joel Matip also joined Alisson in first-team training ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. Mohamed Salah did suffer a knock, but is expected to be fit for Sunday.
With all of the above in mind GIVEMEBET offers three things to consider ahead of the game on Sunday...
Liverpool to win and both teams to score is 43/20
- Liverpool will come into this game as the unquestionable favourites, and have scored 20 goals in the league this season already. While United only have nine goals in the league this season, they have scored in every game they have played at Old Trafford. So a Liverpool win without a clean sheet isn’t out of the question.
Daniel James to score first is 9/1
- One of the few success stories for United this season has been Daniel James. Brought with one eye on developing into a player for the future, James has been thrown in at the deep end in the early stages of his United career, and to be fair to him he’s thriving. He’s United’s joint top goal scorer this season, and his pace may give him the opening he needs to be the first player on the score sheet.
Sadio Mane to score from outside the box is 16/1
- Sadio Mane is Liverpool’s joint top goal scorer this season, and he continues to show his class week-in, week-out. He shows no fear in taking a shot from outside of the box, and it can be a reasonable assumption that he’ll look to hit one outside of the box in this game.
*Odds correct at time of publishing. 18+ BeGambleAware.orgNews Now - Sport News