Liverpool vs. Manchester United – 2:05pm local time on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at Anfield
$2.40 at Sportsbet.com
Table position: 9th
EPL form: L W W L D
$3.30 at www.CrownBet.com
Table position: 6th
EPL form: L L D W D
$3.25 at Luxbet
Last five EPL meetings
Man United 3-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-2 Man United
Man United 3-0 Liverpool
Man United 0-3 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-0 Man United
IT’S a rare thing to see both of these northern giants struggling to make ground on the top four at the same time, but that’s exactly the case ahead of Sunday’s English Premier League blockbuster at Anfield.
And although both played out thrilling 3-3 draws in midweek, Liverpool will feel a lot better about their result than Manchester United do right now.
The Reds held the lead twice against Arsenal in what many have dubbed the match of the season to date, with Roberto Firmino striking twice inside half an hour.
But their sumptuous attacking play was undone by some woeful defending, most notably for Arsenal’s second goal of the night.
Some are saying the Reds’ ineptitude at set pieces has reached crisis mode, and Jurgen Klopp admitted as much in his post-match interview.
“For 60, 70 per cent of the game we played really well,” the Liverpool manager said.
“The players created opportunities but they [Arsenal] got two easy goals.
“At the end we made a real good game and needed luck to make the draw and I think we deserved it.
“It’s an explosion of goals but at the final whistle you cannot ignore there were problems.”
If Klopp thinks Liverpool have problems, he might spare a thought for the free-falling Manchester United.
Having gone 2-0 up inside 40 minutes against relegation battlers Newcastle United on Tuesday, the Red Devils left St. James’ Park with a solitary point after Paul Dummet’s late strike sealed a 3-3 draw.
With only one victory in their last eight Premier League matches, United have slid out of the top four and some nine points adrift of first-placed Arsenal.
The pressure is now well and truly on head coach Louis van Gaal, whose team selections and cautious tactical approach have come under relentless scrutiny over the last few months.
The Dutchman couldn’t help but rue missed opportunities when he spoke to the press after the game.
“We could have scored six goals easily here and we did not,” Van Gaal said.
“If we had, it would have been three successive wins at the start of the year going into Liverpool.”
He added: “We threw it away, I have told that to my players.”
But there were positives to be taken from the Newcastle result – not least the continued resurgence of club captain Wayne Rooney, who has now scored three goals in his last two outings.
United may also take heart from their recent record against Liverpool, who have lost three from three against their arch-rivals since LVG took the reins at Old Trafford in 2014.
Liverpool team news
James Milner looked groggy after coming off second best in a challenge with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin on Wednesday night, but the England midfielder should be available for United’s visit.
New loan signing Steve Caulker could be in line for his first Liverpool start, should Klopp decide to ditch the somewhat shaky centre-back pairing of Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho.
Christian Benteke started on the bench against the Gunners, and he might stay there after Firmino’s classy brace from the central striking role.
Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren are all recovering from hamstring injuries, while Divock Origi is out until February with a knee problem.
Possible Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Henderson, Ibe, Milner, Lallana, Firmino.
Manchester United team news
Bastian Schweinsteiger missed the Newcastle clash with a knee injury and remains a serious doubt for the trip to Merseyside, as reports claim the German midfielder may have damaged his medial collateral ligament.
Ashley Young and Morgan Schneiderlin started at St. James’ after being rested for the FA Cup tie with Sheffield United last weekend, but questions linger over Michael Carrick’s future after he was omitted from the matchday squad altogether.
Phil Jones is still battling an ankle injury, while Marco Rojo (shoulder) and Antonio Valencia (foot) aren’t expected back until mid-February at the earliest.
Possible Man United XI: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Young, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Martial, Rooney.
– Liverpool to win ($2.40 at Sportsbet.com)
– Correct score 2-1 ($10 at Bet365.com)
– Both teams to score ($1.94 at CrownBet.com)
Last time these two met, they played out the worst 45 minutes of football you will see all season.
That was followed by a four-goal second half which featured a Christian Benteke wonder strike and a debut stunner from Anthony Martial.
Given the two sides’ recent form, one would have to expect plenty of goals, gaffes and all-round drama at Anfield this weekend.
If Liverpool can press United the way they did Arsenal, they will create no end of scoring opportunities – even without Coutinho, Sturridge and the rest of their lengthy injury list.
The real question is whether their wafer-thin back line can hold off an in-form Rooney and his supporting cast.
Liverpool first goalscorer bets
Roberto Firmino ($8 at CrownBet)
The high-priced Brazilian has copped plenty of stick this season, but his two strikes against Arsenal oozed class. He has a handy habit of turning up in the big games, having scored and assisted against Manchester City and laid on the winner against Leicester.
Emre Can ($26 at Sportsbet)
The 22-year-old German is really finding his feet as a box-to-box presence in the heart of the Liverpool midfield. He likes to have a ping at goal from outside the penalty area, and one suspects he is about due to find the back of the net.
Man United first goalscorer tips
Wayne Rooney ($8 at CrownBet)
After months of indifferent form, the England skipper is finally starting to look like his old self again. The movement and aggression is back, and so are the goals. As an Evertonian-cum-Mancunian, he would love to extend his scoring streak in front of the Kop.
Ander Herrera ($15 at CrownBet)
The theory among the Old Trafford faithful is that United play better football when Herrera is on the park. He’s an excellent finisher when given the license to roam forward, and a goal on Merseyside would go some way to helping his cause under LVG’s regime.
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