Will the real Liverpool please stand up? There seems to be no logic, pattern, rhyme or reason to their results or performances at the moment, and the fact they are capable of playing as well as they did in the 2-0 defeat of Wolves on Wednesday must leave Jurgen Klopp wanting to tear his hair out.
The Reds took their opponents apart at will at Anfield, and while it took them 73 minutes to eventually break the deadlock, that’s not to say they weren’t short of chances beforehand.
Darwin Nunez had the ball in the Wolves net but that was narrowly ruled out by a VAR call, while Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott also had opportunities to open the scoring in the first half.
The visitors’ Pablo Sarabia probably should have scored as early as the sixth minute, but that was as good as it got for Wolves as they instead focused on trying to repel Liverpool’s attacks.
And they succeeded, for the most part, until deep into the second half. Virgil van Dijk finally made the breakthrough after 73 minutes, heading home after another header of his had bell superbly repelled by Wolves keeper Jose Sa just seconds earlier.
That seemed to open the floodgates, with Mo Salah doubling the Reds’ advantage when he diverted home Kostas Tsimikas’ – in for the rested Andy Robertson – cross.
There was little else to speak of in the remaining 15 minutes, with Klopp left to reflect on a job well done against an opponent that had given Liverpool countless troubles in their three previous meetings in 2023.
It was certainly a nice set-up for Sunday’s blockbuster encounter against Manchester United at Anfield.
Liverpool Team News
A number of players gave Klopp food for thought with their performances on Wednesday evening.
Tsimikas was arguably one of Liverpool’s standout players against Wolves, and there might have been a temptation to keep him in the side – but Robertson is perhaps the smarter option at left back in a game of such magnitude against United.
Stefan Bajcetic again impressed in midfield and is slowly becoming a must pick, while Darwin Nunez continues to shine with his hard-running performances.
It’s unlikely that the likes of Luis Diaz, Thiago or Joe Gomez will return from injury in the next week or so, although Klopp did spring a surprise against Wolves by bringing back the previously-sidelined Ibrahima Konate ahead of schedule.
Cody Gakpo was rested against Wolves, but his replacement – Diogo Jota – had a decent game in his place. So that’s another selection conundrum for Klopp to solve….
Manchester United Form
It’s painful to say it, but these are good times for Manchester United.
In the past couple of weeks alone, they have won the Carabao Cup at Wembley and knocked Barcelona out of the Europa League on aggregate.
On domestic duty, they have lost just once in the Premier League since November. In ten games since the post-World Cup resumption, their formline reads as an impressive W7 D2 L1, with 21 goals scored in that run.
After a troubled start to the 2022/23 campaign, United have been thriving since the start of the new year.
Liverpool vs Manchester United Betting Tips
By hook or by crook, Liverpool have now kept four clean sheets on the spin in the Premier League.
Watching their defending sometimes it’s a mystery how, but the return of Konate will at least provide a more reliable foil for the currently-inconsistent Van Dijk.
Only one of Liverpool’s last six league outings has witnessed three or more goals, and yet United’s formline is the complete opposite. Four of their last half-dozen has breached the 2.5 goals line, with United themselves netting twice at least in each of their last five games.
This is a curious contest in the sense that both sides, evenly-matched on paper, are currently playing their best football of the campaign so far. United are perhaps the more convincing of the two, but Liverpool’s home advantage means that a punt on the draw – available at a shade under 3/1 in places – is perhaps the savviest way to play it.
Liverpool’s games have been hard to predict as far as goals are concerned of late, and despite their clean sheet joy you would expect United to trouble a rearguard that has been questionable at best this term.
Therefore, backing the Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals double seems fair enough at even money.