Fans of the Premier League will be treated to some top football this weekend live on TV, and games don’t get much bigger than Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield. The Reds have been rocked by the news that top striker, Sadio Mane, has been ruled out for up to six weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury on international duty with Senegal. Manager Jurgen Klopp must pick up the pieces at a time when his record at Liverpool is coming under increasing scrutiny.
There are no such worries for Man United boss Jose Mourinho, who has brought back an air of invincibility to the Old Trafford club. Joint-top of the table with their City rivals, the Red Devils have won six and drawn one of seven games so far. If there is a criticism, however, it is that his side is yet to face one of the ‘big six’ in the league, and have not been fully tested on the domestic front so far. That all changes at lunchtime on Saturday when they come up against one of their oldest rivals at Anfield.
Other games on the box this weekend include the London derby between Watford and Arsenal and the Midlands derby between Leicester and West Brom. The Gunners have hit a good patch of form recently, winning the last four in a row in all competitions, but they come up against a Hornets team which is riding high in 8th place after an impressive start under Marco Silva.
Former champions of the Premier League, Leicester, have had a much less impressive start and currently find themselves just one place above the relegation zone. The Foxes entertain the Baggies on Monday night, in what will be a typically fierce derby.
Liverpool v Manchester United
We’re going to stick our necks out at Anfield and recommend a punt on over 3.5 goals at +235 with 888Sport.
That may appear to be a bold move, but there are reasons to believe this could be a more open game than many expect. The two sides drew both matches last season – 0-0 at Anfield and 1-1 at Old Trafford – but much has changed since then. United were struggling under Jose Mourinho and eventually only finished 6th in the league, two places behind Liverpool in 4th.
The capture of Lukaku, the impact of Mkhitaryan, and the progress of Rashford have all contributed to a great start for a much more progressive team this season, and circumstances might lead to Mourinho taking the game to Liverpool. He has often been known in the past for shutting up shop away at his league rivals, but the temptation must be to take advantage of Liverpool’s current quandary.
The Reds have only won one of the last seven games, and are off the pace in 7th in the Premier League. Successive draws against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow in the Champions League have also left them with work to do in that competition. In the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp’s side have drawn with Newcastle and Burnley and were thumped 5-0 at Man City after Mane’s red card. Confidence is low at Anfield, Mane is injured, and questions are being asked about the German manager’s record in his time at the club so far.
Liverpool are compelled to attack whoever they play at their famous stadium, but Man Utd are good enough to cause serious problems at the other end. let’s hope this is a game for the purists with plenty of goals along the way.
Watford v Arsenal
It’s always a risky proposition to back Arsenal away at odds-on, but the -154 with BetVictor looks fair about a Gunners win on Saturday evening.
Watford have amassed 12 points so far and are comfortably in the top half of the early table, but their three wins have all come away from home at Bournemouth, Southampton and Swansea. On home soil they are yet to grab a win, after draws with Liverpool and Brighton, a 3-2 home defeat to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, and a 6-0 thumping by Manchester City. One suspect the Hornets are more suited to playing a counter-attacking style on their travels, and they are yet to hit their stride in front of their own fans.
Arsenal swerve from the sublime to the ridiculous at times, and this season has been no different. They suffered a 4-0 humiliation away at Liverpool, but have since win six of seven and held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Crucially, they’ve kept five clean sheets in that seven-game sequence, and star player Alexis Sanchez is back in the fold.
Leicester v West Brom
On Monday night in a game that is tough to call, the draw is the value bet at +240 with Bet365.
The home side hasn’t won this fixture in the last seven meetings, with both teams faring better on the other’s ground over the last few seasons. West Brom are 10th in the table courtesy of 1-0 wins over Burnley and Bournemouth at the start of the season, but they have since gone six without a win in all competitions (three wins, three draws).
Leicester are in dire straits in 17th position, and only have five points to their name so far in this campaign. A solitary win came over Brighton in the second fixture of the season, but they are without a win in five in the league after three defeats and two draws. On the bright side they did manage a victory over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, but lost to the same side a few days later in the Premier League.
Liverpool v Manchester United – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 14th October, 12:30 GMT
Arsenal to beat Watford
Saturday 14th October, 17:30 GMT
Leicester and West Brom to Draw
Monday 16th October, 20:00 GMT