Liverpool vs. Manchester United betting odds, preview, and pick
The two biggest clubs in England will face off on Sunday, Jan. 17 when Manchester United travels to Anfield to face bitter rival Liverpool in the Northwest Derby.
Sun, January 17 2021, 4:30 PM
Liverpool trying to end skid
The hosts have not endured a league defeat at home since April 2017, but they are winless in their last three matches and have just four wins in their last 10 league fixtures. Since their 7-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace on Dec. 19, they have drawn with West Brom and Newcastle, both of whom are near the bottom of the table, before falling 1-0 to Southampton last Monday.
The biggest issue during this three-match skid is the lack of a senior center back. With season-ending injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, the loss of Joel Matip to injury has made things worse at the back. The team hoped that Matip would be ready to go, but as of Thursday he still had not trained with the team. If he cannot go, then Fabinho and Jordan Henderson may be asked to yet again deputize in defense, weakening the engine portion of their midfield.
While Thiago Alcantara is expected to return on Sunday, the Liverpool midfield simply is not the same without Henderson. Liverpool could go with a youth player in defense, but that would be a risky proposition against a United attack that trails them by just three goals for the league lead.
Liverpool has lost just twice this season, but they now trail United by three for the lead in the table. With Diego Jota missing the match due to injury, and the issues in defense, it will be a tall task for them to come away with a win. If Mohamed Salah can find the back of the net for the first time since the Palace match and add to his league-high 13 goals on the campaign, it would go a long way towards making that a reality.
The Red Devils have been red hot
In terms of form, no Premier League club is hotter than the Red Devils. Their 1-0 win on Tuesday sent them alone to the top of the table for the first time since 2017, and it was the first time in eight away league matches that they failed to score multiple goals. United’s away form has been near historic, winning all but one of their eight away from Old Trafford. Across all competitions, they have found the back of the net 35 times in 14 away fixtures.
Bruno Fernandes leads all midfielders in the Premier League with nine goals scored, and is second in assists with seven. However, he was somewhat lost in the Burnley match as he seemed a step off. When he is able to break with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, they form a triangle that terrifies nearly every defender in the league. Martial came off against Burnley with a hamstring issue, but he is expected to play. He is in solid form, with 11 shots on goal in his last five matches.
The key decision that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to make is what to do with Paul Pogba. If he plays on the left, it will force Rashford out of his preferred position and onto the right. With three goals in his last four matches against Liverpool, he will be key to their shot at victory.
The trends favor a draw
Six of the last 10 meetings between United and Liverpool have been draws, with United winning just one of those meetings. United are winless in their last four at Anfield, drawing three times in that span. However, Manchester United have won nine of their last 11 Premier League matches, with two draws to Manchester City and Leicester.
Liverpool are in shambles right now with injury issues, and while the return of Thiago will help in the midfield, it will not do anything to solidify the defense. United are easily the better team on form, but Solskjaer may play Rashford on the right, and may ask his wide players to pin back to limit the attacking threat of Liverpool’s fullbacks Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robinson.
Given Liverpool’s issues in the back, and United’s desire to not lose top spot, I expect a cagey, but entertaining, affair. Take the double chance bet that Manchester United either wins or draws, as their road form indicates they should get a result from this match, especially if Martial is fit.
My favorite prop bet of the day is the Over 4.5 bookings. Referee Paul Tierney has shown 45 yellow cards and two straight reds in 11 Premier League matches this season, with six of his last seven matches seeing him put at least five names in the book. Given how contentious this rivalry can be, getting positive odds on the Over is terrific value.