All eyes will be on Merseyside this weekend as Liverpool welcome high-flying Manchester United. This will be the first real test for Jose Mourinho’s side after a fairly comfortable start to the new season and punters can back the visitors at 33/20 in 888sport’s Premier League betting markets.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp will galvanise his troops following the international break and the Reds may be ready to push on and build momentum. Prior to the latest set of World Cup qualifying matches, Liverpool had won just one of their last seven competitive fixtures and the Anfield faithful will be expecting a big performance here.
This contest is usually very bitter, especially on the terraces. With so much riding on this game, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see both sides adopt a conservative approach in the opening stages and this one could be a slow burner. Check out my thoughts on the latest instalment in what is one of the greatest rivalries in world football...
Liverpool Must Combat United’s Defensive Approach
When Mourinho visits one of England’s big clubs, you know exactly what you are going to get: a defensive style of football. United will still look to venture forward and put Liverpool’s weak back four under pressure but ‘not losing’ will be the number one priority.
If the hosts are to control proceedings, an early goal is an absolute must - Klopp may send his side out to attack United from the start. His 'heavy metal' style may prove too much for the Red Devils if they go for the jugular.
Just look at what Liverpool did to Arsenal back in August. Mourinho is experienced enough to know that going too gung-ho could be detrimental to United’s aspirations; expect the Red Devils to keep things tight in the first half.
Under 0.5 goals in the opening 45 minutes is 2/1 at the time of writing and punters may be tempted given Mourinho’s record in these big games.
Quietening Anfield Crowd Key For Mourinho’s Men
Riding that early Liverpool storm will be huge for United. The opening 20 minutes will define whether the Red Devils can come away with a positive result or if this one is a stretch too far for Mourinho’s side - it is certainly United's most difficult fixture of the campaign so far.
With no Marouane Fellaini or Paul Pogba, the onue will be on Nemanja Matic to keep tabs on Liverpool’s attacking midfielders; Ander Herrera may also have a key role to play. The Spaniard will bring added bite to the midfield; he is an 8/5 shot to be carded.
In attack, United have the quality to cause problems for this Liverpool defence and the Red Devils may enjoy plenty of success upfront. The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are all capable of making the breakthrough.
Mourinho will be wary of Liverpool’s pace on the counter attack but United will fancy their chances of containing the hosts. With a bit of luck, the visitors could snatch another vital win as they look to win a first Premier League title since 2013.
Klopp needs a victory to put an end to the growing unrest at Anfield. A section of supporters have started to turn on the Liverpool boss in recent weeks and the Reds must keep pace in the race for the Premier League top four.
For United, this will be tough and Mourinho may be satisfied with a draw. Yes, Liverpool’s defensive frailties mean that they are there for the taking but a point at Anfield wouldn’t be a bad result given United’s injury woes. At 47/20, the draw is well worth considering.
LIVERPOOL 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED (Priced at 5/1 with 888sport)