Match Preview And Prediction For Punters
The two most successful clubs in the history of English football go head-to-head on Sunday at Anfield, as Liverpool host Manchester United in a crucial north-west derby.
The two teams are currently vying for a top four position in the Premier League and a Champions League place this season. Just two points separate the fifth-placed hosts from the fourth-place visitors.
Liverpool have hit form at just the right time of the season. The Reds have won more points in 2015 than any other team in the English top-flight, having collected 26 points this year.
They have now won five consecutive matches in the Premier League. That current good run of form has put them back into contention for a place in those lucrative Champions League spots.
Liverpool’s good run of form has been based on a return to defensive solidarity, as Brendan Rodgers team have now kept seven clean sheets in their last nine Premier League games.
That good defensive record has helped the Reds to win eight out of their last nine top-flight games, with the only exception being a goalless draw at Everton in the Merseyside derby.Liverpool scoring form at Anfield has also been good, as they have scored two or more goals in their last seven top-flight games on home soil.
Liverpool heads into this game on the back of a 1-0 win at Swansea, where a rather fortuitous Jordan Henderson goal was enough to claim maximum points.
Manchester United also head into this game on a decent run of form, having been defeated just three times in their last 24 games in all competitions. In fact the Red Devils have suffered just two defeats in their last 19 Premier League games.
The Red Devils have looked more solid in defence in the Premier League, having kept three clean sheets in the top-flight, although they did concede two goals in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Arsenal.
United have claimed victories in the last three Premier League games and last time out hammered Spurs 3-0 at Old Trafford, courtesy of goals from Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney.
The visitors have the better overall record in the recent head-to-head, having beaten the Merseysider’s in four out of the last six meetings in all competitions.However, five of those meetings were at Old Trafford and Liverpool claimed victory in the only game in that sequence that came at Anfield.
Liverpool are still likely to be without goalkeeper Brad Jones and young winger Jordon Ibe both through injury, while there are slight doubts over the fitness of Martin Skrtel and striker Mario Balotelli.
Captain Steven Gerrard is fit again, but may have to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench.
For Manchester United Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria is available again after serving a suspension against Tottenham. Centre-back Jonny Evans remains suspended, while Dutch striker Robin van Persie is still struggling with an ankle injury.
This game promises blood and thunder in the tradition of previous games, with both teams tightening up at the back in recent games it could be a tight game. My prediction is that there will be under 2.5 goals and possibly a 1-1 draw.