Six-Pointer at Anfield as Liverpool Welcome United
Last updated: January 13, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||Liverpool 2 – 0 Man United|
The two most successful sides in England go head-to-head in the Premier League on Sunday. United are unbeaten on the road this season, but can they take all three points at fortress Anfield?
December was a very mixed bag for champions Liverpool. The month started with a routine 4-0 win against Wolves. The ever-dependable Mohamed Salah giving the home side the lead after 24 minutes and further goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and an own goal from Nélson Semedo in the second half making the points safe.
The Reds struggled in their next game, only managing a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Fulham. It could have been worse for Liverpool had Mo Salah not rescued a point from the spot with just over 10 minutes left in the game. The London club had held the lead from the 25th minute due to a Bobby De Cordova-Reid goal.
Two good results followed, a 2-1 win against fellow title contenders Tottenham was followed by a severe 7-0 mauling of Crystal Palace. Five different scorers were involved at the Selhurst massacre, and everything looked rosy for the champs.
However, the Christmas period wasn’t so merry for Liverpool. A 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, a 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle United and a 1-0 defeat at Southampton has seen them lose their lead at the top, collecting just two points in nine.
In the defeat at Southampton, Liverpool’s first shot on target at St. Mary’s came in the 75th minute, which is the latest that the club has taken to do so since December 2015. It was also the first time they failed to score in back to back league games for the first time since May 2018. In stark contrast they recorded eight shots on target in their 7 – 0 victory at Selhurst Park, in their three games since then, they have just seven attempts on target.
Jürgen Klopp will hope Thiago Alcantara reinvents belief in the uninspired front three that have lacked the creativity and edge in the front third. Diogo Jota, who had scored nine times before being sidelined, provides an additional threat in front of goal. Getting Fabinho back to his natural position to provide sufficient cover in their defensive duties allowing Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to venture forward would increase their creativity. Mohammed Salah (13) is still the top scorer and Sadio Mane (6) always very dangerous, just time to get them tickling once more as a unit.
Despite Liverpool’s current dip, it’s worth remembering that they are big-game players and it has been against the so-called lesser teams that they have struggled. They have already won against Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal alongside a draw against Manchester City.
With the league won so easily last season, this is the first time the champions have come under real pressure for a year. The margins are ever-growing narrower, and if Manchester City wins their two games in hand, they go 2 points ahead of the Champions and one behind the current league leaders.
The Red Devils have never ventured to the top of the table at this stage of the season in seven seasons. This campaign is their first time at the summit since December 2012 in their last title-winning season under Alex Ferguson. They will be hoping they don’t succumb to the ‘curse’ of being branded title contenders and suffer the same fate as Tottenham and Chelsea whose form deteriorated after talk of the title this season.
United fans are unlikely to get carried away though. A few months ago it was all doom and gloom at Old Trafford, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær was among the favourites to get sacked, and star player Paul Pogba’s agent was publicly telling his player to abandon the sinking ship. Yet, since a 1-0 defeat by Arsenal on the 1st of November, United has been steadily grinding out results and only draws against Manchester City, and Leicester has stopped the Red Devils picking up 33 points out of 11 games.
The United resurgence has been in part inspired by the form of World Cup winner, Paul Pogba. Often criticised for his style of play, Pogba can make a difference in games, as shown in the 1-0 win away at Burnley that took United to the top of the league. The Frenchman scored the only goal of the game and looked impressive throughout.
Marcus Rashford (7 goals, five assists) and Bruno Fernandes (11 goal and seven assists) have the best numbers for United, but one of United’s biggest assets is the depth of quality. McTominay and Fred in the middle of the park offer different options to Pogba and Donny van de Beek, and the manager has done a good job at rotating to give himself options. Also on the bench is Edison Cavani, who is always a threat.
A warning for United though is their record against the ‘big-six’, whereas Liverpool struggle with the smaller fish, United struggle with the sharks and have already suffered losses against Arsenal and Spurs. The 6-1 loss at home by Tottenham was a low to counter any high for United fans. A positive though is their away form, the best in the league, winning seven and drawing just one of the eight they have played. They also have the added incentive of going six points clear of their fiercest rivals.
The Reds have been big game-winners against Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal and drawing against Manchester City.
Liverpool has Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota back and is expected to splash big money on a centre back to cover for the season-long injury on Van Djik.
Rashford has been involved in 11 goals in the past 14 appearances (6 goals, five assists) with Bruno still their best player with 11 goal and seven assists.
Man United are the best team on the road, yet to lose, winning seven and drawing once.
|Liverpool (4-3-3):||Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Mane|
|Subs:||Kelleher, Williams, Jones, Elliott, Keita, Minnamino, Milner, Matip, Origi|
|Injured:||van Dijk, Gomez, Tsimikas, Jota|
|Manchester United (4-3-3):||De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Fernandez, Rashford, Cavani|
|Subs:||Henderson, Tuanzebe, Fred, Mata, Lingard, Bailly, Matic, Beek, Martial, James, Greenwood|
So Far This Season
|Liverpool This Season||United This Season|
|9 (2)||Wins (away)||11 (7)|
|7 – 0 v Crystal Palace||Biggest Win||6 – 2 v Leeds United|
|6 (5)||Draws (away)||3 (1)|
|2 – 7 v Aston Villa||Biggest Defeat||1 – 6 v Spurs|
|Salah (13)||Top Goal Scorer||Fernandes (11)|
|Y16, R0||Discipline||Y28, R1|
|2||Failures to Score||3|
|65%||Both Teams to Score Games||65%|
|59%||Over 2.5 Goals||65%|
|41%||Under 2.5 Goals||35%|
- The two sides have met 56 times; the Red Devils have had the edge 28 times against Liverpool’s 15 wins with 13 draws between them.
- The two teams are the best scorers in the league with Liverpool scoring 2.18 goals per match with United scoring 2.00 goals.
- Mo Salah is the current top scorer with 13 goals as Liverpool most lethal player with United’s Fernandes who is on 11, the danger man for the visitors.
- The maths are simple, a win for Liverpool takes them top, a United win sees them six clear of their rivals.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|19/01/2020||EPL||Liverpool 2 – 0 Man United||Van Djik 14’|
|20/10/2019||EPL||Man United 1 – 1 Liverpool||Rashford 36’|
|24/02/2019||EPL||Man United 0 – 0 Liverpool||—|
|16/12/2018||EPL||Liverpool 3 –1 Man United||Mane 24’|
|10/03/2018||EPL||Man United 1 – 1 Liverpool||Rashford 14’|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Liverpool has enjoyed a rest while other games have been played in the Premier League this week and should be the fresher of the two and would love to get back to winning ways against their historic rivals. Their record against the big sides is excellent, and they will fancy their chances against a team who had a tough game against Burnley in midweek.
United are masters on the road; it’s been a year and 15 matches since they last tasted defeat away from Old Trafford, ironically the last time they were beaten was at Anfield by Sunday’s hosts. There should be no question of motivation, win this and they go six points clear of Liverpool. They have the players, can they produce the performance to beat Liverpool?
Liverpool may be experiencing a blip, but we expect them to get back to winning ways against Manchester United. United struggle to raise their game against the top clubs this season and their recent 2-0 loss at home to Manchester City in the EFL Cup only strengthens this argument. We are going for a 3-1 win for Liverpool which is available @ 16/1 with bet365.