Liverpool will smell blood against dreary United.
Liverpool are the new Premier League leaders, and relinquishing top spot after just one week would be a most unwelcome early Christmas present for Jurgen Klopp, particularly as it would mean slipping-up against their arch rivals.
This said, I simply can’t see any scenario where this Manchester United side get something. The points difference between the two sides is vast (SIXTEEN in total), although the performances we’ve seen on the pitch shows the gulf is perhaps even wider than we think; Liverpool have been a delight at times, United have been dire.
I do think Liverpool will win this, although at 4/7, backing them is a bit of a waste of time. United do often raise their game against Liverpool, and the last two meetings between these two at Anfield have been goalless, and you suspect Mourinho will deploy similar tactics on Sunday.
However, this is a very different United side to what we saw last season. There’s none of that organisation or durability, and David de Gea hasn’t been his usual superhuman self, highlighting just how much he’s carried this side for so many years.
Mourinho and Manchester United are going nowhere, and their defence (who have conceded more than all-but-five sides in the league) may take a battering.
They were fairly handily beaten by Valencia in the Champions League, despite the Spanish side languishing 15th in La Liga, so I dread to think what Liverpool could do to them.
So, I’m not going to back a Liverpool win due to the lack of value, however I am going to back both teams to score – no doubt to the surprise of some of you.
Liverpool have conceded just one Premier League goal at Anfield, although they have only faced one top six side there so far in Manchester City (who missed a penalty anyway), and I feel United are capable of scoring goals – the problem for them is plugging the holes at the other end.
There's also a growing injury list amongst Liverpool's defensive ranks, so there's a decent chance United can take advantage of their unsettled back four.
Mourinho’s side have scored in every away game this season – including at Chelsea and City – so I think BTTS in a highly emotional affair such as this is a decent bet.
This is a lovely little price boost: Mo Salah to have over two shots on target, at a delicious 10/3!
The Egyptian has well and truly rediscovered last season’s imperious form, and is currently the only Liverpool player who looks capable of scoring every game.
He averages 3.6 shots-per-game in the League this season, and considering how many saves David de Gea is forced to make (54 this season, the 5th highest) and couple that with how many goals he’s conceded, Salah will undoubtedly have numerous chances.
10/3 is a massive price for Liverpool’s most destructive player to hit the target three times, and one which I can very realistically see landing.
United absolutely love an early concession – they have been behind at the half-hour mark in seven of their last 10 Premier League matches – and if there’s one side who have the capability to start a match like a freight train, it’s Liverpool.
At a very generous 9/5, I’m backing Liverpool to lead Manchester United after 30 minutes.