MANCHESTER UNITED host old rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Super Sunday. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets.
Manchester United v Liverpool | Sunday 20th October 2019, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Two rivals meet in the only Super Sunday game from the Premier League this weekend. These sides have dominated in differing eras and the power shift is currently firmly on Merseyside.
As Liverpool have continually improved in the last half a dozen years, Manchester United have faltered. You’d have been sent to an insane asylum if a decade ago you’d have said Liverpool would be as short as 4/6 to win at Old Trafford but it’s a reflection of just how dramatically the tides have turned.
Jurgen Klopp has done an immaculate job since coming to Anfield; he’s seen his side win their last 17 league games on the bounce, an incredible and almost record-equalling feat. What’s so admirable about this side is their sheer adaptability – they win all kind of games against all kinds of formations, in all kind of scenarios.
A last-gasp penalty saw the Reds pick up a deserved win against Leicester last time out, the Merseysiders only gave up an Expected Goals (xG) figure of 0.10 and created plenty of good goalscoring chances.
Liverpool improving defensively
One potential drawback that people have highlighted on Liverpool is their potential to give up some presentable chances. I’d say that was the case earlier in the season as some players were a bit rusty but they’ve reverted to their strong defensive efforts in recent times. The underlying data will give them added hope of keeping a clean sheet on Sunday to.
Manchester United are posting a measly xG from open play figure of just 0.52. They’ve clearly struggled for craft and creativity in the final third and for all the criticism Marcus Rashford has received, he simply isn’t being presented with strong goalscoring chances.
That been said, he doesn’t help himself with his lack of conviction in making attacking runs in the box. It may be a dearth of confidence that is causing him to hide a little but we’ve seen what he’s capable of in a good team whilst on England duty.
Reds firm favourites
I think everyone would agree that it would be a major surprise if United won here, you just can’t back them in their current guise and on the flip side you can’t back against this in-form Liverpool side.
Pressure is growing on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he’s not been helped by the sheer number of injuries. Paul Pogba is out and David De Gea picked up an injury last week and is ruled out. That takes the tally up to 11 players on the treatment table and with doubts over the likes of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw, the Norwegian may be forced to play individuals who are not fully fit.
The visitors aren’t without injury worries themselves though; Mo Salah looked like he would be out for a while after taking a whack against Leicester but he’s had two weeks to recover and could be in contention to play a part but it’s doubtful. Joel Matip isn’t 100% but Klopp may still play him given his excellent form.
The good news for Liverpool is that Allison has recovered from his injury and will slot straight back in you’d presume, even though Adrian has done a decent job filling in.
The betting angles
I have to be with Liverpool here but their price makes zero appeal. Although Liverpool can smash teams at home they’re slightly more pragmatic on the road. You can’t rule out a hammering but with Salah not fully fit I think it could be a relatively tight game, therefore I’ll happily boost the odds on the away side to 21/20 (Coral) by chucking in Under 4.5 Goals.
Every United game this season has seen fewer than five goals with Under 2.5 copping in 9/11 of their matches this season. At odds-against the Under 2.5 punt could be value too.
All five of Liverpool’s away wins this season have seen Under 3.5 Goals cop, never mind under 4.5. They’ve won by a single goal in three of their four away wins in the league this season and the more ambitious punter may be drawn in to the 11/4 (SkyBet) offering on Liverpool to win by exactly a one-goal margin.
I’ll dip into the bookings market too as I like the look of United to collect the Most Bookings Points at 5/4 (SkyBet). The Red Devils have picked up 19 yellows in their eight league games whereas Liverpool have only picked up seven cards in their eight games thus far.
I think we can all agree which side has the greater attacking threat and the likelihood is that the visitors will have the majority of the ball and do the lion’s share of attacking. Purely based on those stats I’m surprised we can get odds-against.