Let’s face it: there’s NO good time for an international break in the calendar, whether you support Liverpool or enjoy a bit of a bet every now and again. But it’s an especially bad time when you are enjoying the power of eight, as the Reds are. That is, we’re on an eight-game winning streak and enjoy an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table over Manchester City.
As far as Jurgen Klopp is concerned, the season could run-and-run without ever stopping for his players to travel off to destinations far and wide.
It is what it is, however, and the only crumb of comfort is that the vast majority of Liverpool’s squad has returned in good order from their international endeavours.
Mo Salah didn’t travel with Egypt – he was still nursing his injured ankle after that ferocious tackle from Hamza Choudhury in the last-gasp 2-1 win over Leicester just prior to the international break.
Both Bobby Firmino and Sadio Mane featured in the stalemate between Brazil and Senegal in Singapore, and while the former stayed on in the Asian country for his side’s friendly with Nigeria, the latter flew straight home and confirmed he will skip Sunday’s African Nations Championship game against Guinea in order to play for Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, Fabinho travelled with Brazil to Singapore but only features as a substitute against Nigeria, while the rest of the European contingent don’t have jet lag or anything like that to worry about.
So, all in all, the international break has gone pretty well for us – which is more than we can say for Sunday’s opponents. We never write off United, of course, but clearly they are there for the taking.
Liverpool Team News
Given that there are no major inconveniences forthcoming from injuries and niggles suffered during the international recess, that means that the only decisions Klopp has to make with his starting eleven are tactical.
And how’s about this for a boost ahead of a trip to our bitter rivals: Alisson could finally return in goal after a successful rehab from his calf injury.
There’s further good news. Both Salah and Joel Matip should be fit to start after missing game time against Leicester, while Xherdan Shaqiri could also be ready to take his place on the bench after recovering from a calf tear of his own.
Options, lots of options. That’s the happy scenario for the manager!
For a game of this magnitude, Klopp will surely go for the sarting eleven that he considers his strongest. So that will be Alisson in goal, the usual back four of Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk and Robertson, plus a midfield three of Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum – although Milner will likely be in the boss’ thinking given his experience.
In attack, assuming there were no repercussions from their trip to Singapore, Firmino and Mane will lead the line with Salah, unless he suffers a late reaction to his previous injury, ready to rock and roll on the right flank.
Manchester United Form
While it’s not cool to gloat, we should take every opportunity available where United are concerned.
They have managed to win just two of their eight Premier League games thus far, scoring a paltry nine goals, and all is not well with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
United also went into the international break on a three game run without a win, losing at West Ham and Newcastle and taking a point on home soil against Arsenal.
Manchester United vs Liverpool Betting Tips
This game has so far this week been an excellent lesson for bettors wanting to take their punting to the next lesson in how to identify a ‘value bet’.
When the odds were released by the bookies, they made Liverpool a 4/6 favourite. Fair enough, you would say, based on the evidence of what we have seen so far.
And then it was announced that David de Gea and Paul Pogba were almost certainly going to miss the game through injury – that’s a world-class goalkeeper and a midfield talisman, no less.
Were Liverpool shortened as a result? No, in fact 4/6 is still available with many different firms.
So if the sharpest of analytical minds in the business think we were a 4/6 shot, and now United have been shorn of their two best players, clearly we have a value proposition on our hands in taking the same odds with this revelatory new information.
Basically, that’s a log-winded explanation of why you should be backing Liverpool to deepen the misery of their old rivals come Sunday.