League leaders Man Utd will be quietly confident of victory when they host fierce rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday (1.30pm GMT, live on Sky Sports).
United are seven points clear of second place Manchester City with 52 points from 17 wins, one draw and three defeats, and are in the midst of a nine-match unbeaten run.
A late equaliser from Robin Van Persie helped them to a 2-2 draw away at West Ham in the FA Cup last weekend and the Dutchman was one of the primary architects of victory in United’s last Premier League match, a 4-0 win away to Wigan.
Van Persie scored twice in that match, as did Javier Hernandez (pictured), the pair forming an excellent partnership in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney. The same knee injury will again keep Rooney out of action on Sunday, so Van Persie and Hernandez will likely continue up front.
Van Persie’s double against Wigan took his Premier League total to 16 in 21 appearances since his £24 million summer move from Arsenal. His goals and all round play have played a big part in United’s superb season to date and he is already a fan favourite at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman may currently lead United’s scoring charts, but a large number of his team-mates have also contributed to the club’s league leading 54 goals to date. A total of 15 different players have scored for United this season, while they have also benefited from three own goals.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men carry offensive threats from all over the field. 10 goals (18.52%) have come from defenders, nine from midfielders (16.67%) and 32 from forwards (59.26%). The remaining percentage (5.55%) relates to the aforementioned own goals.
They have been less solid defensively, conceding 28 times to date. However, with Nemanja Vidic back from injury, and a little more protection being afforded to the defence by the fielding of the energetic Tom Cleverly alongside the more sedate Michael Carrick in midfield, this should improve in the second half of the season.
Liverpool have a comparable defensive record to United but have scored a full 20 goals less, a fact that goes a long way towards explaining their current league position of 8th, some 21 points down on the league leaders.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have accumulated 31 points from 8 wins, seven draws and six defeats to date. They have been on a decent run of form over the last month or so, winning five of their last seven league matches as they have finally begun to convert some of the numerous chances they create.
Liverpool still has the worst shots to shots on target ratio in the division and among the worst ratios for shots to goals and shots on target to goals. Yet in recent times they have recorded 3-0 victories over Queen’s Park Rangers and Sunderland and triumphed 4-0 at home to Fulham.
Luis Suarez is never far from controversy, but has scored five goals in his last four league matches, taking his total for the season to 15. The wily Uruguayan has been bereft of support for much of the campaign, often forced to go alone to create chances. In the circumstances, his occasionally wayward finishing can perhaps be excused.
Suarez has scored 44% of Liverpool’s goals and will no doubt have been glad to see them sign another forward at the beginning of the January transfer window, when Daniel Sturridge joined in a £12 million deal from Chelsea.
Sturridge scored just seven minutes into his debut against Mansfield in the FA Cup at the weekend and although it may take him a little time to settle, he has the potential to be an excellent acquisition for the Reds.
How quickly he is able to form a fruitful partnership with Suarez could be one of the key factors that dictates how high Liverpool can aim between now and the end of the season.
Man Utd v Liverpool Betting Tips Verdict
United came back from a goal down to win 2-1 when these sides met at Anfield in an ill-tempered encounter earlier in the season and we expect Sunday’s match to be contested with similar intensity.
Liverpool have displayed signs of improvement over the last month or so, but United are in excellent form and look well placed to extend their winning run at Old Trafford to eight matches.
- Back Manchester United to win @ best odds of 19/20 with BetVictor or William Hill.
- Van Persie scored the winner when these two sides met earlier in the season and also scored a double against Liverpool with Arsenal last season. He is in excellent form, having scored in eight of his last nine matches in all competitions and we therefore suggest backing Robin Van Persie to score at anytime @ 20/21 with Blue Square.