The Premier League returns from the international break this weekend and kicks off with arguably the most-anticipated fixture of them all – Liverpool versus Manchester United in the Saturday lunchtime game.
Manchester United have won six out of seven to start the 2017-18 season and kept a clean sheet in all of those victories, with Stoke the only team to both score and take points off of Jose Mourinho’s side so far. That came after the last international break.
Liverpool are already seven points behind their rivals after only seven games and even the most confident supporter would have to give up any title challenge should they lose on Saturday.
Mourinho’s side have been scored for fun this season – 21 goals in all, whilst only West Ham and Crystal Palace have conceded more goals than the 12 Liverpool have shipped heading into the weekend.
Both sides suffered first team injuries during the international break. United lost Maraouen Fellaini in the middle of the park, joining Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick on the sidelines. This means Ander Herrera will likely have to partner Nemanja Matic in front of the back four – not a bad option to had.
Sadio Mane has been ruled out for up to six weeks following a hamstring injury picked up whilst playing for Senegal. This injury hits Liverpool harder than what Fellaini’s absence does for United. The forward has been excellent since joining from Southampton last summer and means that either Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start or both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino may be part of the front three. The Brazilian duo will still on international duty with Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning our time.
Romelu Lukaku has scored seven goals in seven Premier League games for United and should see opportunities against Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren. I expect Anthony Martial to start down the left flank against youngster Joe Gomez, whilst Marcus Rashford can be brought on as an impact sub. Juan Mata has the beating of Alberto Moreno down the opposite side.
With Manchester United’s excellent attack and Liverpool looking shaky at the back I certainly see the Red Devils being the better of the two sides and am surprised the bookmakers have both sides at the same price. The international break does throw a little spanner in the works and no doubt Liverpool will raise their game. These two also drew both fixtures last season, so whilst I see value in the visitors it isn’t a dead cert.
Best bet: Lay Liverpool at 2.84 with Betfair
Value bet: Back Manchester United to win at 2.82 with Betfair