Manchester United v Liverpool
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Red Devils looking to forget Palace fright

Two goals down at Crystal Palace, trouble appeared to be in the air for Manchester United. The Red Devils were two or three gears off the pace, Alexis Sánchez was doing his best impression of an opposition player, and Roy Hodgson's side looked set to take full advantage. But as United rallied, drew level and snatched a late winner, it was hard not to think about the good old days of 'Fergie time', when this team was never beaten.
Things are a little different these days, of course, and rarely is that more evident than in games like the one coming up on Saturday. José Mourinho could never be described as expansive when it comes to facing top-of-the-table rivals, but you imagine the defensive frailties displayed at Selhurst Park, coupled with the attacking ability of their opponents, will prompt a certain amount of bus-parking.
That could mean a reprieve for Scott McTominay, hooked at half-time on Monday night but quietly impressive in victory against Chelsea. At the back, Chris Smalling will be hoping to put a shaky display behind him, although surely it can only be a matter of time before Eric Bailly is deemed ready to return to the starting XI to spread a little calm.

Midweek draw not an issue for Liverpool

If you're going to draw a rare blank after weeks of fireworks in the final third, you may as well do it in the second leg of a tie you already have won. And so Jürgen Klopp will probably not be too concerned about his side's inability to break Porto down in midweek, even if it did break Liverpool's winning sequence.
Klopp managed the minutes of his key players in that one - Virgil van Dijk remained on the bench, Roberto Firmino came off after an hour and Mo Salah only had a late run-out - meaning that tiredness is unlikely to be a major issue when the Reds make the short trip to Old Trafford.
Andy Robertson should also return to the XI after a night off, and the only question mark is over the midfield spots. Georginio Wijnaldum is a doubt again, so the energy of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could earn him a start alongside Jordan Henderson and Emre Can, despite some handy contributions from James Milner and Adam Lallana in recent weeks.

Visitors in confident mood

United's recent home record against Liverpool is strong: they have won 10 of their last 13 Premier League meetings at Old Trafford. Yet the market has this almost as a pick 'em game - United are 2.78, Liverpool 2.84 - due to the strong recent form of the away side.
Mourinho has tended to struggle against Klopp teams - one win from eight games in all competitions - and the visitors have the added motivation of knowing a win would put them second. They certainly have the tools to get a result, and Draw No Bet holds some appeal at 2.00.

Goals not guaranteed

There are two conflicting trends in the goals markets: United tend to be cautious in big games, whereas Liverpool games can lean towards the frantic - take the madcap win over Manchester City in January. It's the former that we like to win out here, not least because teams who do sit deeper and defend in numbers make life harder for the Reds.
Add in the fact that three of the last five Liverpool games have gone under the 2.5-goal mark, perhaps suggesting a minor slow-down in terms of attacking output, and the unders looks the pick at 1.96.

Salah on song

Salah has scored in each of his last five Premier League games, which makes the 2.54 available on him making it six look generous, even against the league's second-best defence. He will have watched Smalling's performance at Palace with some interest.


Back Mo Salah to score at 2.54

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