Man Utd can keep pressure on City with win against Liverpool
One of the biggest matches in world football looks likely to end in a whitewash, with Manchester United offered at an odds-on price of 5/6 by Coral to beat fierce rivals Liverpool.
Anfield legend and television pundit Mark Lawrenson has described the club as “rudderless” in the run-up to the match, criticising their approach.
“To be frank, Liverpool are all over the place at the moment. They are rudderless, low on confidence and do not seem to have a definitive way of playing,” Lawrenson said.
United have have won 10 out of the last dozen league and cup games played at Old Trafford between the two teams. The Red Devils were outplayed last season, however, when Brendan Rodgers’ side ran out 3-0 winners. This completed a Premier League double over them, having previously won 1-0 at Anfield.
Skipper Steven Gerrard was on the scoresheet that day, dispatching two penalties, and is 10/3 to score anytime again. However, as alluded to by Lawrenson, Liverpool have lacked conviction this term, and the void left by Luis Suarez is significantly noticeable.
Hosts United, despite a turbulent start to the campaign, have slowly started to turn their fortunes around, and sit third in the Premier League. They have won their last five matches, a run of form which has been aided by the goals of Robin van Persie, who has struck three in as many games.
Back him at 4/1 to open the scoring, though odds of 3/1 are available for the Dutch striker to dispatch and the Red Devils to win.
Wayne Rooney is also looking lively, often netting if Van Persie doesn’t. The 29-year-old is one goal behind his strike partner on five, and has a price of 4/1, like RVP, to break the deadlock.
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been speaking ahead of the clash, and admits the team are determined to make up for their early Champions League exit.
“I felt devastated to be out of the Champions League, especially as I thought we were good enough to go through,” Henderson said.
“There was disappointment and there was exhaustion because we had put so much into the game. We couldn’t have done any more by the end. We were delighted to be back in the Champions League after last season and looking forward to improving as a team and as individuals,” he continued.
“To go out at such an early stage is hard to take but we have to learn from our mistakes and hopefully we will be back in the Champions League at the end of this season.”
Despite this, the 24-year-old vice-captain, 11/2 to score anytime, is confident that the team can get a result at Old Trafford.
“United are not a better team than us. I see the quality and character that we’ve got at this club every day in training” Henderson continued. “We’ve showed it in glimpses and we can definitely go to United and get a good result.
“But it’s all well and good me sitting here and saying that, we have to do the business. I’m not saying United aren’t a good team because they are and they’ve got fantastic players, but so have we.”
It is hard to imagine where Liverpool’s goals will come from beyond Gerrard, with Daniel Sturridge still injured. Mario Balotelli is available following a six match absence, however, and could feature.
The Italian knows what it is like to go to Old Trafford and take all three points, having bagged a brace in Manchester City’s 6-1 demolition of the Red Devils in October 2011. Balotelli is 11/4 to make the net bulge anytime.
Louis van Gaal will know that a win will keep up the pressure on reigning champions Man City, and could even close the gap to two points if the unthinkable happens and Manuel Pellegrini’s side lose away to Leicester, as United did earlier in the season.