Liverpool v Manchester United – Saturday 15 October – Anfield (13:45)
The English Premier League is back with a bang this weekend after breaking for international qualifiers and friendlies. Liverpool will face Manchester United in what is one of the biggest football derbies in the world. Their rivalry runs far back and they are the two most successful clubs in England, between them they have won 118 honours: 60 for Manchester United and 58 for Liverpool. This season’s meeting holds more importance as Liverpool finally have a squad capable of challenging the champions for the title.
Liverpool have had a reasonably good start after a few bad seasons and also considering the amount of new players Kenny Dalglish has brought into the team. They lie 5th with 13 points, just 6 off their opponents and have the chance of closing that gap to 3 points here. Playing at home will be a massive boost for Liverpool as they have showed even through the worst of times that they are very hard to beat at Anfield. Manchester United have failed to beat or even draw at Liverpool since 2007 and the Anfield faithful will yet again be ready to play the 12th man when their rivals visit. Captain Steven Gerrard is eager to give the Reds another boost by starting the match after just recently returning from injury and making a few promising performances coming on as a substitute. New boy Jordan Henderson is likely to move to the bench again as Adam, Lucas and Downing look certain to start while Dirk Kuyt, who scored a hatrick in last season’s 3-1 win at Anfield over United, will also be looking for a start but it all depends if King Kenny starts both Luis Suarez and Andy Carrol or opts for one striker and Kuyt.
After overtaking Liverpool by winning their 19th League title, Alex Ferguson has transformed his Manchester United team into an even more formidable force. Ferguson made some good signings in promising youngsters Ashley Young and Phil Jones who are playing extraordinary and also brought back Danny Welback and Tom Cleverly who both had good loan spells at Sunderland and Wigan respectively last season. Together with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Nani and Anderson the team has brought a new exciting style to the club. They are top of the table with 19 points in 7 matches, only drawing 1 game and winning the rest. They have scored an amazing 24 goals in those 7 matches, which is an average of 3.5 goals a game and have only conceded 5. It is however clear that United’s home performances have been much better than their away performances and they will need to be on top of their game to get the better of Liverpool here.
Manchester United are seen as slight favourites being priced up at 14/10 but Liverpool’s home advantage is tipped to play a key role in the game and they look a good bet at 18/10.