MAN UTD host Liverpool on Thursday. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview the match-up.
Manchester United vs Liverpool | Thursday 13th May 2021, 20:15 | Sky Sports
Arguably the two biggest rivals in English football are summoned to battle on a Thursday night at Old Trafford, following the postponement of the original clash on May 2nd – as a result, much to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s anger, United will be playing their third EPL game in five days.
The Norwegian promised to make wholesale changes throughout the games this week, so it was no surprise to see ten different names on the team sheet from the one that beat Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday, when slipping to a 2-1 home defeat to UCL qualification hopefuls Leicester.
What was potentially a surprise, given the nature of a much-changed Red Devils side losing to the Foxes who as a result opened a nine-point gap on his side in the chase for UCL qualification, was that Jurgen Klopp defended his opposite number’s decision to field a weakened side, calling it “a crime” that the Premier League scheduled United to play three games in five days.
However, given those wholesale changes, the fact United’s next game isn’t until Tuesday against already relegated Fulham, that Liverpool are the opposition and there is a golden opportunity to kill off their rival’s chances of gatecrashing the top 4 – we should expect a near full strength line up from the home side.
That’s means the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani should make a return to the starting eleven with the latter fresh from signing a contract extension, committing his future to the club for at least another 12 months.
The 34-year-old took his time finding his form before scoring eight goals in his last eight league and UEL appearances, it became an extremely important piece of business to tie down him down for at least one more season to provide the United attack a focal point and a proven goal scorer.
With Liverpool continuing to have problems in the centre of defence, as they have done for the majority of the campaign, there is a chance we could see Nathanial Phillips and Rhys Williams partnered in the absence of Ozan Kabak, in which case Cavani could be licking his lips at being able to pit his wits against the unexperienced duo.
The Uruguayan started both legs of the recent UEL semi-final against Roma and smashed a total of seven shots on target with four coming in the home tie, meaning he has had two or more shots on target in three of his last four starts – the only miss being against Granada when only on the pitch for an hour.
Seeing Paddy Power price Cavani at 7/2 for two or more shots on target is too good an opportunity to pass up – especially with the cash out available to us if he doesn’t make the starting eleven – with liquidity in that particular market low, that price is unlikely to hang around too long so a backup option is Sky Bet who have the same bet priced at 11/4 – I wouldn’t advise taking any lower.
Although Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal last night has left the door slightly ajar for the Reds to claim that fourth place, they will need a win here so one would normally expect them to have the stronger motivation however all those at Old Trafford will know how much a positive result in this fixture means to their support.
So many of these bigger clashes have been tight, cagey, low scoring affairs with six of the last nine league meetings between these two ending all square, four of which ended goalless – including the reverse at Anfield in January.
However, none of those games had such a situation as this with the visitors knowing anything other than winine will not do and the home side with nothing to lose by way of league position, unable to improve on their current second place but with their own place in the top four guaranteed – they will also know their rivals will have to commit at some point.
The expectation is for Liverpool to fly out of the traps here which could perfectly pave the way for one of this season's most profitable angles on Manchester United games – for them to win from behind.
Having faced a deficit in 15 EPL games this term, Solskjaer’s men have gone on to claim 28 points, winning on a very impressive nine occasions (W9, D1, L5) – so given the game scenario here I’m prepared to have that outcome onside once again at a best price of 12/1 with Bet Victor.
Finally, in a match of this size I really wanted to have one of the disciplinary markets in my portfolio ahead of kick off and although the odds with Sky Bet for both sides to pick up 20+ booking points was appealing at 6/4, having Anthony Taylor holding the whistle I decided to reluctantly swerve it.
Instead, I will be taking odds of 7/4 with Bet 365 that the Cheshire official will add to his tally of 16 penalties awarded from 34 appearances and point to the spot at least once again.
The 42-year-old has a record of 11 awards this season from 24 EPL appointments including one in his last outing, he has taken charge of two games at Old Trafford this season giving penalties on both occasions and three in total.
No team in the EPL has been awarded more spot kicks than United’s 10, while Liverpool have had six and conceded eight of which only half have been scored.
Let’s hope the game actually goes ahead this time and we are served up an overdue classic.
Manchester Unite vs Liverpool – Edinson Cavani to have 2 or more shots on target (7/2 Paddy Power)
Manchester Unite vs Liverpool – Manchester United to win from behind (12/1 Bet Victor)
Manchester Unite vs Liverpool – A penalty awarded (7/4 Bet365)