David Moyes is no stranger to grudge matches on Merseyside and will be hopeful of obtaining a positive result when he takes his Manchester United side to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday (13:30 BST, live on Sky Sports 1).
United’s hosts have begun the season well, keeping clean sheets and securing 1-0 victories in each of their two league matches to date, although both results were achieved in less than comfortable circumstances.
Liverpool had new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping out Jonathan Walters’ penalty in the 89th minute of the opening day victory over Stoke and survived an 11-1 second half shot count to hold on to their first half advantage in winning away at Aston Villa last weekend.
Brendan Rodgers praised his defence in the aftermath of the Villa win and their solidity in the face of consistent pressure was in part thanks to an excellent performance from Kolo Toure, signed on a free transfer from Manchester City this summer.
Toure has endured a difficult couple of years and it was disappointing, albeit unsurprising, to see him again succumb to injury during Liverpool’s 4-2 League Cup victory over Notts Country on Tuesday. Brendan Rodgers will likely throw Martin Skrtel straight back into first team action after injury to partner Daniel Agger on Sunday.
Further forward, Daniel Sturridge has enjoyed a productive start to the season, scoring in each of Liverpool’s league victories and adding two more to this total on Tuesday. Quick, technically able and relatively strong, he has now scored 15 times in 19 appearances since joining from Chelsea for £12 million in January.
Sturridge has established a particularly fruitful relationship with Philippe Coutinho, the small, inventive Brazilian attacking midfielder who also joined the club at the turn of the year. They were especially impressive in tandem during the opening day victory over Stoke, in which summer signing Iago Aspas also played a solid supporting role.
Aspas has started both of Liverpool’s league matches to date due to the absence of Luis Suarez, who is currently six matches into his ten match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and therefore unavailable for selection against United on Sunday. Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen miss out through injury.
United travel to Anfield having obtained four points from their two league fixtures to date. They clinically dispatched Swansea 4-1 away on the first day of the season and then played out a tedious 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday, showing flickers of promise but generally labouring to break down a strong Chelsea defence.
Wayne Rooney returned to the starting eleven after a cameo from the bench against Swansea and performed well despite speculation about his future, finding space to receive the ball between the lines and working hard to win back possession when lost. He now appears set to stay at United and is highly likely to start against Liverpool on Sunday.
There were a couple of occasions when Rooney might have passed to a better positioned Robin Van Persie when he instead chose to shoot, but the pair generally dovetailed quite well. Rooney only assisted two of Van Persie’s 26 league goals last season and Moyes will hope to develop their partnership in the coming weeks.
In defence, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were again excellent. Vidic was particularly impressive, winning every tackle and clearance he contested, but will have a stiffer challenge on Sunday against an in-form Sturridge and does not have the best of histories at Anfield, having been sent off at the stadium on two previous occasions.
United were not involved in midweek action and have no fresh injury concerns. Rafael will be missing until mid-September with a hamstring injury, a chronic bowel condition continues to sideline Darren Fletcher, while Javier Hernandez and Nani are yet to recover from their respective injuries.
Liverpool vs Manchester United Betting Tips Verdict
United were victorious in this fixture last season thanks to a late Van Persie penalty, but that was the first time they had won in the league at Anfield in five seasons, with Liverpool enjoying the better of recent encounters with three wins in the same period.
Moyes won just three of the 22 Merseyside derbies he contested during his time at Everton and had an even worse record at Anfield, recording no victories at the home of Everton’s greatest rivals.
Everton did, however, draw six times at Anfield under Moyes. With a much stronger team at his disposal and with Liverpool less well rested and missing key players at both ends of the pitch, he has an excellent chance of getting at least a point on Sunday.
- Back Manchester United +0.5 on an Asian Handicap @ 11/20 with Bet365.
- Van Persie scored in both fixtures between these sides last season and having scored a superbly taken double against Swansea looks set to have another excellent campaign. Back Robin Van Persie to score at anytime @ 7/5 with BetVictor.