It’s been a while since Manchester United last went into the clash with arch rivals Liverpool while sitting below the Reds in the standings, but such is the reality that the Red Devils cannot really be considered favourites to win despite hosting Brendan Rodgers’ side at their Old Trafford.
A nightmare season for Manchester United is slowly drawing to a close and everybody at the club will be delighted when the league campaign finally ends so that they can regroup and prepare for the new season. As things stand now, the Red Devils will miss out on a top 4 finish for the first time since 1991, although their slim Champions League hopes would be kept alive in case they can beat Liverpool on Sunday. And while Manchester United face an uphill task to reach the Champions League quarter-finals following the 2-0 defeat in Athens, back to back league wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich have helped improve the atmosphere in the squad. The three goals they scored at the Hawthorns will keep David Moyes’ charges in good stead for the Liverpool game, where they have no choice but to attack their rivals from the off. We can safely say Manchester United won’t be too keen on appearing in Europa League, so their final league position will not matter much if they finish outside of Champions League places. The good news is Rafael and Nani have resumed full training, whereas Jonny Evans and Javier Hernandez could also play a part.
Unlike their bitter rivals, Liverpool are enjoying one of the most successful seasons in recent years and no doubt a triumph at Old Trafford would be very special for club fans. The Reds are still pretty much in the title chase seeing as how they are seven points behind leaders Chelsea, but with a game in hand. More importantly, they have all but secured a top 4 finish and have an excellent chance to pour more misery on Manchester United. With Brendan Rodgers being able to count on the best attacking partnership in the league, Liverpool have been scoring goals for fun throughout the season, making sure some disappointing defensive performances can go unnoticed. While losing the FA Cup tie against Arsenal, the Reds have won four straight matches in the Premiership, with those games producing staggering 21 goals. Buoyed by the 3-0 triumph over very good Southampton side, Liverpool will fancy their chances of winning at Old Trafford and there are no doubts they will adopt a positive approach. The likes of Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho could be in contention after recovering from injury, but Jose Enrique continues to miss out.
Having finally recorded back to back Premier League wins, Manchester United will want to extend the promising run of results by beating Liverpool and the hosts will be heavily relying on attacking partnership of Rooney and Van Persie. Meanwhile, the Reds need a win if they are to remain in the title chase, with Suarez and Sturridge likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10