Manchester United vs LiverpoolEnglish Premier League, KO: 16:30 Oct 20, 2019, Old Trafford
ONCE upon a time Liverpool used to languish in the shadows of Manchester United, however, the Reds are now towering above the Red Devils – and the gulf in class between these two old foes is bigger than ever.
Premier League pacesetters Liverpool will make the short trip to Old Trafford on Sunday in search of an astronomical eighteenth consecutive top-flight triumph – and achieving just that would equal the all-time record set by Man City two seasons ago.
Eight of those victories have been chalked up this term and a ninth success this weekend would also see Jurgen Klopp's side equal the best ever start made to a Premier League season.
The European champions imperious form does not bode well for a Manchester United team who could end the weekend an eye-catching 18 points behind the Merseysiders should they crash to defeat on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has oversaw United's worst start to a season in three decades and there are certain permutations that could see the Red Devils end the weekend in the relegation zone.
The Old Trafford side are currently toiling in 12th position and are now without a win in five top-flight matches following their most recent setback at St James' Park a fortnight ago.
However, Man United may take confidence from the fact that Liverpool have failed to win in their last five league visits to this venue and the home side will be looking to spring a surprise in this showdown.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are an unprecedented 4/6 (PaddyPower) to topple their rivals at Old Trafford – such short odds for an away win in this fixture have never been known.
The fact that Man United will also be missing key figures in the shape of David de Gea and Paul Pogba may also be attributed to the bookies heavily favouring Liverpool here.
Yet, despite such a disappointing start to the season, United currently possess the fourth-best defensive record in the division, however, the Red Devils rearguard will receive a stern examination from Liverpool's formidable front-three on Sunday.
A case could be made for anyone of the Reds famed forward line to hit the back of the net, however, I'm going to turn to my attention to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Reds full-back is very adept at timing and directing his overlapping runs to regularly contribute to attacking phases of play and he also likes to try his luck from long-range – Alexander-Arnold has had five pops at goal in eight league outings thus far.
One of those efforts crashed into the back of the net in spectacular fashion at Stamford Bridge last month and Alexander-Arnold looks overpriced at 4/5 (Coral) to have 1 or more shots from outside the box on Sunday.
On the theme of full-backs I'm also attracted to the 2/1 (BetVictor) on offer for Man United's Ashley Young to pick up a card in this encounter.
The United captain could be given the thankless task of trying to shackle Mohamed Salah and having already clocked up three cards in six appearances in the Premier League thus far, value could lie in backing the ageing left-back to get booked in a clash that tends to generate cards.
Young and Co may powerless in preventing Liverpool from preserving their eight point advantage at the summit of the Premier League, however, I'm not so sure that this will be as straightforward for the visitors as the betting suggests.
Liverpool have won three of their four league games away from Anfield by a single goal – a 3-0 win away Burnley being the only exception- and given that the Red Devil's have been reasonably solid this season, I suspect a similar story could unfold on Sunday.
In addition to that, Man United haven't scored more than one goal in a league match since mauling Chelsea on the opening weekend of the campaign and that glaring lack of a goal-threat may see them struggle to lay a glove on the league leaders.
However, United have scored in all of their home games to date and the Old Trafford crowd will rise to the occasion for a fixture that represents a big threat threat to Liverpool's flawless league record.
What's more, history shows that meetings between these two sides tend to be cagey affairs, with three of the last six meetings finishing 0-0 and given that Liverpool haven't won in their rivals backyard since the 2013/14 season I'm not tempted enough back Liverpool outright, especially at such a short price.
However, an alternative angle that I do like the look of is combining Liverpool on the double chance and under 3.5 goals at 8/11 (Bet 365) – a combination that has landed in all four of Liverpool's Premier League away games thus far.
This English Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool will be played on Oct 20, 2019 and kick off at 16:30