Liverpool v Manchester United Betting Preview
Back both sides to suffer top-four setbacks with a draw
With both sides coming into the game on the back of two enticing 3-3 draws in midweek, Liverpool and Manchester United look set to play out a thriller on Sunday afternoon at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s men showed a superb level of determination and character to find a last-minute equaliser against a strong Arsenal side, and proved that their threat going forward still exists, despite injuries to key figures. Wednesday’s tie means that Liverpool are now ninth in the Premier League table with 31 points, 12 off the top and five off the top four, the latter of which is now very much the aim for Klopp’s men this season.
Liverpool have only fallen to two home defeats all season, and are unbeaten since November 8 when Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace inflicted Klopp’s first defeat as Liverpool manager. However the Reds have only won one of their last four games in all competitions, and two consecutive draws takes their tally to 13 for the season – a worrying statistic that could prove costly in their fight for a Champions League place. They’ve also conceded in four of their previous six home games, something that may also worry the Anfield faithful considering the recent revival of Manchester United’s front line. I’m backing Liverpool to salvage a draw on Sunday.
We caught a glimpse of the Manchester United of old on Tuesday evening as they too played out an enthralling 3-3 draw with struggling Newcastle United at St James’ Park. After eight straight games without a win over the Christmas period, United are now unbeaten in four and have scored six goals in those recent outings. The link-up play between Wayne Rooney and youngsters Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial was of a very high quality and resembled the kind of football seen during the era of Giggs, Ronaldo and a much younger Rooney. Have they finally found the spark they’ve been missing? If they play the same way on Sunday then Liverpool will be in for a tough afternoon.
Louis van Gaal has seen his side produce some impressive performances on the road this season, something that can’t be said for their home form. His side have scored in five of their last six fixtures away from Old Trafford in all competitions, despite winning only once. It appears that whilst the attack has finally found its goal-scoring form, United’s resolute defence that shipped 12 goals in their opening ten games have slackened off slightly conceding 13 in their last eight. Van Gaal’s men have won only once on the road since their 3-0 victory over Everton back in October (Watford 2-1) and managed a mere three victories in their last ten league outings. They are currently sixth in the league with 34 points, two behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, but I think they’ll miss out on regaining a Champions League spot this weekend by ending all square in this fixture.
United have won the last three meetings between the two sides, including the 3-1 home win back in September, scoring eight goals. They’ve taken the victory in ten of their last 15 encounters, with Liverpool winning only four. However, Liverpool will have confidence knowing that United have only won two of their last six trips to Anfield, the last of which coming last season when Juan Mata netted one of the finest derby goals to seal the win. With one draw in the last 15 meetings, it’s about time we had another.
To score at any time – Wayne Rooney 11/5
The England captain, who has been rightly criticised for the majority of the season for his poor form, looks to have finally regained his touch and has four goals in his last three outings, taking his tally to 12 for the season in all competitions. His superb strike against Newcastle on Tuesday was trademark Rooney, and proved he still has the ability to score high-quality goals in his locker. Despite scoring five career goals against Liverpool, only one has come at Anfield, so he’ll be hoping to improve on that record in two days’ time. I recommend backing odds of 11/5 for Rooney to find the net at any time.
Both teams to score in the second half – Yes 3/1
A risky one, I have to admit, but both teams have scored in the last two meetings and in eight of the last 12. It’s also interesting to see that in seven of those eight games, both sides have scored in the second half, with six goals scored in the first 45 minutes, and 18 scored in the second. The head-to-head record would suggest it’s likely, so I would recommend having a stab at both teams to find the net in the second half with tasty odds of 3/1.
Match odds – Draw 23/10
I think we’re in for a close and exciting fixture, with neither side holding a real advantage over the other. Odds of 23/10 are available for the draw, which in my opinion is the most likely outcome. The home side are marginal favourites to win the tie, priced at 13/10, whilst the away side, who won on their last visit to Anfield, have odds of 11/5 to steal the win, which may well be worth taking.
Writer’s Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 2 Manchester United
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.