One of the fiercest rivalries in football takes place at Anfield this evening in front of the Sky cameras but who will come out on top?
Liverpool v Manchester United
Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool have doubts over influential midfield pairing Gigi Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana but Jurgen Klopp isn’t ruling them out of the game.
Defenders Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren have both shaken off knocks that they picked up before the international break.
Jose Mourinho will have been disappointed to draw to Stoke and he’ll have a decision whether Anthony Martial gets a starting place after his impact in the Stoke game.
Luke Shaw and Henrik Mkhitaryan are both available after injuries but you’d expect to see both start on the bench.\
Liverpool have had a fantastic start to the season playing some exciting attacking football, as we expected once Jürgen Klopp had a summer transfer window to sort through the squad.
Due to the redevelopment of Anfield they’ve only played two homes matches but they’ve made up for lost time winning both by an aggregate of 9-2. They put four past Champions Leicester and five past Hull, so the Man United defence could have their work cut out here.
Both of these have scored plenty this season – Liverpool 18 and Man United 13, so given that you’d expect goals. On top of that the Klopp’s side have conceded 10 compared to Man United’s eight.
There is a stat that catches the eye but in more of a head scratching sense. Only two of the last six league meetings have seen Both Teams to Score (8/13) yet four of those six have seen Over 2.5 Match Goals (3/4).
I do like my stats from previous meetings, so given them I’m left slightly baffled. On top of that there is the quandary of whether Mourinho will set his side up to win or not to lose meaning we could see a midfield battle with few chances or an entertaining attacking contest.
That leads to this – it is hard to second guess who Mourinho will start but for me Juan Mata is an influential player in this side, plus he has a fantastic record against Liverpool.
He’s played in 12 games against the Reds and ended on the winning side in five matches with three draws but has lost four.
But this is the main stat – Mata has contributed in more goals (8) against Liverpool than any other English side he’s faced with three goals and five assists. Given that he scored both goals in Man United’s 2-1 win here in 2015 he is worth looking at for an anytime scorer at 5/1 with Unibet & 32Red.
Away from the players there has been a spotlight shone on the appointment of Altrincham based referee Antony Taylor.
He took charge of Man United’s 2-0 win over Southampton earlier this season awarding the Red Devils a spot kick.
In general United don’t have a good record when he takes charge of their fixtures unlike Liverpool. The Reds have won two and drawn once in the three Premier League matches Taylor took charge of last season. He also awarded them a penalty in their 1-0 success over Swansea.
He tends to have a low card make-up on average. Last season he averaged 3.48 yellow cards per game and so far in seven Premier League fixtures he averages 3.28.
This season Man Utd average 2.14 yellow cards and Liverpool average 2, so that totals up to around four cards, which would fit in with his make-up. Last seasons two encounters only saw five cautions but with the rivalry it isn’t a market that would interest me too much.
Corners wouldn’t exactly appeal given the previous six head to heads. None of those matches have reached 10. Three matches have seen nine corners with others having 8, 7 & 5.
This season Liverpool matches average just over 11 corners but United average 9, so you’d expect around 10. The Over 10.5 corners (20/23) doesn’t look great value.
One bet I do like is Over 1.5 Liverpool Teams Goals (EVS). The Reds have scored at least two goals in five of their seven league matches this season.
However for me, Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score is the way into this Monday Night Football fixture.
I’ll keep it simple by saying Liverpool have conceded in every game so far and Man United have scored in all seven.
With Liverpool having the attacking trio they have then I can see them taking the three points in an entertaining game.
Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score (3/1 – Various – 0.5pt)