Liverpool v Manchester United: Relentless Reds to march on

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool look to extend their record-breaking start to the season with a welcome win over bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday. Mark O'Haire oversees the odds...

Liverpool v Manchester United
Sunday January 19, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports

Liverpool extend their Premier League lead

Liverpool extended their advantage at the top of the Premier League standings to 16 points after overcoming Tottenham 1-0 in the capital last weekend. Roberto Firmino's first-half goal proved decisive as the record-breaking Merseysiders made it 20 triumphs from 21 league outings, putting them well on course for a first top-flight title for 30 years.
Jurgen Klopp's men have now amassed 104 points across their last 38 Premier League matches, scoring in all 21 of their games this term. That record was maintained by Firmino, however, Liverpool were then grateful for poor second-half finishing from their hosts in order to record another victory with the runaway Reds far from their best in London.
Klopp insists Liverpool will continue their relentless assault on top honours, saying post-match, "When someone gives you a trophy it is done but until then you need to fight. It is only the start. We need to continue because our contenders are so strong." The hosts are hoping to have Fabinho, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren back in the squad sooner than later.

Manchester United secure back-to-back wins

Manchester United have enjoyed a productive week. The Red Devils easily dispatched rock-bottom Norwich 4-0 at Old Trafford last Saturday to cement their fifth-placed position in the Premier League, before Juan Mata's superb second-half goal sent United into the FA Cup 4th Round thanks to a 1-0 home victory over Wolves during Wednesday night's replay.
The Spanish midfielder chipped over keeper John Ruddy to settle matters after being put through on goal by Anthony Martial. It was a deserved win for the hosts, who enjoyed the better opportunities in a tight tussle at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's fielded a strong side and could easily have been ahead earlier with Mata and Daniel James going close.
Solskjaer made only three changes to the team with Sergio Romero named in goal, while James and Mason Greenwood also started. Eager to get the job done, the United boss sent on Marcus Rashford in the 64th minute. But the gamble to involve Rashford may prove costly; the striker pulled up and had to be replaced just 16 minutes after coming on.

Hosts hot favourites to succeed

Since completing a league double over Manchester United in 2013-14, Liverpool have won just one of their 11 Premier League games against the Red Devils (W1-D5-L5). Nevertheless, the Reds have avoided defeat in each of their past four fixtures across all competitions at Anfield against their bitter rivals (W2-D2-L0) since a 1-0 United win here in January 2016.
Liverpool 1.42 host Manchester United 8.80 at Anfield for a league game starting the day top of the table for the first time since September 1990, when winning 4-0 under Kenny Dalglish. The Reds are understandably strong favourites to pick up maximum points, defending the third longest unbeaten run in Premier League history (W33-D5-L0).
The Merseysiders have proven particularly phenomenal on home soil. Jurgen Klopp's charges have W28-D2-L0 at Anfield since the start of last season, W40-D9-L0 dating back to the beginning of 2017/18 and are unbeaten here since April 2017. Throughout all three aforementioned samples, Liverpool have excelled when welcoming top-six rivals.
Man Utd were terrific when winning at Man City before Christmas, but that performance has proven to be an outlier. The Red Devils have taken maximum points just three times in 15 Premier League road trips (W3-D4-L8) recently, recording a solitary shutout in that sequence. The midweek excursion and loss of Marcus Rashford is also a major blow.

Relentless Reds to march on

Liverpool were 3-1 winners when last entertaining Man Utd here in December 2019 and it's understandable to expect a similar showdown on Sunday at Anfield. However, the Reds have tightened up significantly since Joe Gomez stepped in to partner Virgil van Dijk in central defence with Jurgen Klopp's troops now keeping six successive clean sheets.
With United blunted through Marcus Rashford's expected absence, the Reds' improvements in defensive areas, plus the historic rivalry weighing on both sides, it may pay to oppose goals. Over 2.5 Goals is a strong odds-on shot at 1.73 and punters might wish to consider laying a high-scoring encounter as part of Saturday's promotional offer on the Exchange.
My preferred play is to support a home success alongside Under 4.5 Goals at a reasonable 1.72 on the Betfair Sportsbook Same Game Multi. It's a conservative angle of attack but it's a selection that's regularly proven profitable in Liverpool's match-ups at Anfield against Big Six rivals, whilst the last meeting with United to feature at least five goals was a decade ago.

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