Thursday, March 30, 2023

Prediction: Liverpool vs Manchester United

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 3 Mar 2023


Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

On Sunday, Liverpool will be hosting Manchester United at Anfield for what will be the 25th Premier League game of the season for either side.

The rivalry between these clubs is unprecedented in English football. They are by far the two most successful clubs in the country, with Manchester United holding the record of 20 league titles, while Liverpool have the most Champions League trophies, six, twice as many as their nearest English rivals – none other than Manchester United.

However, it’s rarely been the case that these two clubs enjoy eras of success at the same time. Liverpool dominated the ’70s and the ’80s, United knocked them off their perch in the ’90s and held onto it for a long time after the turn of the century, while Liverpool went through a significant decline. But as United gradually lost their foothold with the emergence of Chelsea and Manchester City as super-rich clubs and ceased to even challenge for the Premier League title, it was Liverpool who rose like a phoenix to great heights again to show that they’re still there.

This season, United have undergone another change under the command of Erik ten Hag, and some even see them as actual title contenders behind Arsenal and City. But as if to honor the tradition of never competing directly against them at the top, Liverpool have fallen surprisingly low again.

But be that as it may, it’s still a great rivalry, and their clashes are not to be missed.


Having won both domestic cups and finished runners-up both in the Premier League and the Champions League last season by the narrowest of margins, the Merseysiders simply don’t look like themselves this term. A recent moderate resurgence has actually seen them climb the ladder to sixth place, where they are at the moment with 39 points.

Rightly not thinking about the title this time, their obvious goal is to try and finish inside the top four and not miss out on Champions League football next season as that could have a seriously damaging effect on their transfer plans for the summer. And let’s face it, they need a rather large squad rebuild.

There’s six points between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place right now. The Reds have a game in hand on the North Londoners, but it should be said that the fifth place currently belongs to Newcastle, who in turn have a game in hand on Liverpool, on top of a two-point advantage.

In the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s team finished second to Napoli in their group, and in the round of 16, they’re set to try and overturn a three-goal deficit when they face holders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu after getting battered in the first leg at Anfield. In all honesty, it looks like an impossible mission, but the likely exit from Europe would obviously provide them with more time and space to focus on that top-four finish.

Liverpool’s recent form has had a distinct feeling of progress, but this is still far from what we were used to seeing from them over the last five or six seasons. Their last six matches in all competitions include a 3-0 defeat away to Wolves, a 2-0 win at home over city rivals Everton, a 0-2 win away to Newcastle, that shocking 2-5 defeat at home against Real Madrid, a goalless draw away to Crystal Palace, and a 2-0 home win over Wolves.

Team News

Klopp has confirmed that there are no new injury problems or players returning from injury for this clash. That means winger Luis Diaz (knee), midfielders Thiago Alcantara (hamstring) and Arthur Melo (match fitness), as well as defenders Joe Gomez (knock) and Calvin Ramsay (knee) remain unavailable.

Midfielder Naby Keita is a doubt at this point.

Alisson Becker will be in goal. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate are set to form the centre-back duo, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on the flanks. Fabinho and young Stefan Bajcetic are expected to start in the middle of the park again, but this time with captain Jordan Henderson there as well. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez will be attacking from the flanks, but Klopp will choose the central attacker between Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Cody Gakpo.

Manchester United

Ten Hag has been praised far and wide for doing what five coaches couldn’t do before him – get Manchester United playing high-quality football and challenging on all fronts again.

And it hasn’t always been easy for the Dutchman. The season didn’t start too well and there were off-pitch issues to resolve as well, but he held onto his authority and dealt with them as they came. One of the most notable consequences was the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo by mutual agreement, and United haven’t looked back since.

With the five-time Ballon d’Or winner gone, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are flourishing, and the presence of Casemiro behind them certainly means a lot as well. United look like a proper team, with clear ideas and quality execution a regular part of their game these days.

The Red Devils are currently third, with 49 points, 11 less than Arsenal at the top and six less than Manchester City in second place, and with a game in hand on both. In addition to the potential joy of beating their greatest rival, they need the three points to keep in step with the top two.

The form United are on is superb, with their last six matches consisting of five wins and a draw. They beat Leeds United away by 0-2, before drawing 2-2 away to Barcelona in the first leg of their Europa League knockout stage play-offs clash. Then they beat Leicester City at home by 3-0, finished the job against Barcelona with a 2-1 win at home, won the Carabao Cup by beating Newcastle 2-0 in the final at Wembley, and beat West Ham at home by 3-1 in the FA Cup.

Team News

The players certain to miss the Anfield trip are midfielders Donny van de Beek (knee) and Christian Eriksen (ankle), and forward Anthony Martial (groin). Winger Jadon Sancho (illness) and left-back Luke Shaw (unspecified) are expected to be ready but for the moment, they’re listed as doubts.

David De Gea will be in goal, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the heart of defence, Diogo Dalot likely to start ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right, and Tyrell Malacia set for a start on the left if Shaw isn’t fully fit in time. Casemiro and Fernandes are obviously instrumental for the way United play in the middle of the park, and the third man is likely to be Fred. Rashford will be one of the two men flanking Wout Weghorst upfront, but Ten Hag will choose the other between Sancho (if fit), Alejandro Garnacho and Antony.


Both managers expect a tough game and that’s indeed likely to prove the case for both sides. United are playing much better than Liverpool at the moment and on paper they are the favourites, but form has rarely played a big part in such matches. The only thing that appears certain is that both teams will be eager to go forward from the first whistle, and we should be in for a thrilling contest.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: Unibet


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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