Liverpool vs Manchester United Preview

Arch rivals Liverpool and Manchester United clash at Anfield in Saturday's early kick-off
The EPL resumes with one of the biggest clashes of the season as Liverpool play host to Man United
Liverpool vs Manchester United | Saturday 14 October | Anfield | 13:30

Liverpool will welcome Manchester United to Anfield at the weekend hoping that the fixture will serve a kick-start for what has been a stuttering campaign thus far.

Meanwhile, this will no doubt prove to be the sternest assessment of Jose Mourinho and his team's title credentials. His United charges have blazed a trail to the summit of the league table against some of the division’s lesser sides. If they're able to get past Liverpool on Saturday, the Old Trafford faithful can start seriously dreaming of their first title since the 2012/13 campaign.

To Win
Liverpool 33/20
Draw 47/20
Man United 16/10

Liverpool

If Jurgen Klopp’s men are to view this game as a catalyst for a run of good form, they’re going to have to get a result without their most potent attacking weapon, Sadio Mane. The Senegalese speedster returned from CAF World Cup Qualification with a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out for six weeks.

The injury to Mane puts extra pressure on Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino to produce the goods in the final third. Salah has been magnificent for club and country this season, and will return to Anfield on a high following his heroics for Egypt in midweek. The £34m man scored twice to secure the North African nation their first World Cup berth in 28 years.

He’ll need to link up well with Firmino at the weekend if the hosts want to break down United’s watertight defence. Firmino is probably a bit guilty of flitting in and out of games and will need to start delivering more consistently unless he wants to lose his place to Daniel Sturridge.

Mane’s absence will necessitate a change in the front three. Coutinho may well be pushed further forward with Gini Wijnaldim, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can anchoring the midfield. While Liverpool fans will be happy enough with the midfield and front trios, they will be all too aware how poor they are defensively.

Dejan Lovren – let’s be honest – is stealing a living as a professional centre-half. Joel Matip isn’t a bad player, however, as a ball-playing centre-back he needs a powerhouse in the mould of Alderweireld or Van Dijk next to him. Liverpool would probably be better served moving Joe Gomez into the centre-half position next to Matip with Trent Alexander-Arnold starting on the right side of the defence.

Whether or not all of these changes would actually make any difference remains to be seen. Liverpool defend poorly as a unit especially from set-pieces, something that United’s team of giants will no doubt look to take advantage of.



Manchester United

United have enjoyed a magnificent run this season and only trail table-topping Manchester City on goal difference. A couple of shrewd acquisitions this season as well as last term’s signings beginning to bed in has seen them sweep all beside them (with the exception of a plucky Stoke City side).

Romelu Lukaku has hit the ground running by scoring seven goals in as many games. Meanwhile the arrival of Nemanja Matic has allowed the likes of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini to get in more advanced positions with both looking far more dangerous than they did in last season’s shambolic league campaign.

While the new signings have made a difference, last season’s signings have also started to perform. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is second on the assist chart while the centre-half, Eric Bailly, has quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the league. The big Ivorian is even getting the best out of Phil Jones who had battled in his United career since crossing Lancashire from Blackburn Rovers a few seasons ago. United have only conceded twice in the league with the duo at the heart of their defence. They'll have their work cut out for them this weekend, however, as Coutinho and co. pose a much bigger threat than some of the weaker sides they've played this term.

Mourinho will have a few injury headaches going into the game. Paul Pogba is still unavailable after suffering a hamstring injury against Basel in the Champions League. Marouane Fellaini is a doubt with a knee problem while reports seem to indicate that Phil Jones will be fit to start, despite missing England’s last two qualifiers with minor knee injury.

We’ll likely see Ander Herrera anchor the midfield with Matic with Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Mkhitaryan playing in behind Lukaku. The back four should remain the same with Ashley Young playing at left, Antonio Valencia on the right with Jones and Bailly in the middle.

Prediction: Both Teams to Score (13/20)
Manchester United have scored in every single one of their matches this season. Liverpool have only failed to score in one – the formula looks pretty simple then? You can also be sure that Mourinho won’t come to Anfield to park the bus as he did last term. There’ll be goals in this game and 13/20 is a great price. 

Value Bet: Lukaku to Score 2 or more Goals (11/2)
This is one of our "Price Boosts and Specials" markets for the week and looks to be excellent value. Liverpool have been prone to conceding to set-pieces and crosses all season… and is there a better player to expose the Reds’ aerial weakness than Lukaku? I think not – big value here!

Written by Jason Dewey