THE Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime with a humdinger from Anfield as Liverpool welcome bitter rivals Manchester United. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Liverpool v Manchester United | Saturday 14th October 2017, 12:30 | Sky Sports
Liverpool have endured a stop-start style beginning to the season.
The Phillipe Coutinho saga followed by a suspension to Sadio Mane means Jurgen Klopp’s side have failed to get firing. Adam Lallana was such an influential player last campaign and we cannot underestimate his absence. Liverpool have won just one of their last seven.
During Mane’s absence last season, Klopp’s men really lost their way and that was again evident when he was suspended last month. Mane’s lethal diagonal runs in behind offer Liverpool an extra dimension in attack and time and time again over the last 12 months he has popped up with invaluable goals.
He picked up an injury while away with Senegal and could be out for around six weeks. Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho also return after hectic travelling with Brazil in their final two qualifiers.
Mourinho to lock Liverpool down
These sort of fixtures are where Jose Mourinho comes into his own. His United team will be organised, pragmatic and dangerous on the counter. Last season United drew 0-0 away to both Liverpool and Manchester City and that goes a long way to explaining how Mourinho approaches these games.
Paul Pogba is a big miss, as is Marouane Fellaini, whom Mourinho has often utilised in big away games. This only enhances the extent to which Jose will approach this game with an ‘avoid defeat mindset’.
The main threat Liverpool face will be the directness of Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. Expect early balls into Lukaku to be a common theme this Saturday.
The betting angles
United have fielded many a makeshift left-back this season and that could be an area of joy for Liverpool, with Mo Salah’s ability to run in behind. He also averages more shots in the Premier League this season than any other player and is tempting at 12/5 to get on the scoresheet.
With many doubts over Liverpool and Mourinho’s pragmatic nature, it makes sense to take Man United with the draw on side. They can be backed at 49/50 in the Draw No Bet market with Marathon.
A small punt at a United clean sheet is also worth considering. They seem to have tightened things up against the top-six since their 4-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge.
They kept clean sheets away at Liverpool and City last season and prior to that lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup when a man down courtesy of a second-half winner. The clean sheet is 66/25 with Marathon.