Liverpool set for tough test against Manchester United
Liverpool go head-to-head with Manchester United on Sunday aiming to continue their march towards the Premier League title.
The Reds have taken 61 points from a possible 63 this season and it would be a big surprise if they blew what is undoubtedly a golden opportunity to claim top spot.
Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the weekend with a 14-point lead over Manchester City and with the added advantage of a game in hand over the reigning champions.
Liverpool would need to suffer a spectacular collapse over the next few months for City to bridge the gap and that doesn’t seem likely given their current form.
They are favourites to pick up another three points this weekend and many bookmakers offer free bets for new customers who want to wager on them to do just that.
The Reds can be backed at odds of around 2/5 to beat United and are likely to be the cornerstone of many doubles and trebles this weekend.
Liverpool’s options for the game have been boosted by the news that Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho are closing in on a return to first team action.
It is doubtful whether any of the trio will start the game against United, but having them back in the squad is certainly positive news as the title race continues.
The additional competition for places can only help Liverpool, particularly after they failed to produce their best form at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Jose Mourinho’s side created enough chances to take at least a point from the game and Klopp has admitted that there were aspects of the performance that could have been improved.
However, grinding out results when you’re not at your best is the mark of championship-winning teams and Liverpool managed to get the job done.
While the Reds appear to be gliding towards a first-ever Premier League title, United have endured an inconsistent campaign in the top flight.
Their 4-0 victory over Norwich City last weekend left them fifth in the table, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
With the Red Devils still harbouring hopes of finishing in the top four, they are sure to be fired up for Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
They remain the only side to take a point off Liverpool this term and could perhaps count themselves unfortunate not to have won the first meeting back in October.
Marcus Rashford put United ahead in the first half and they looked to be on their way to victory until Adam Lallana popped up with a late equaliser for the Reds.
Rashford has continued in good form since then, taking his tally to 19 for the season in all competitions with a double against Norwich.
The 22-year-old will need to be watched closely by Liverpool’s backline and odds of around 2/1 to score anytime look generous given his current level of performances.
With trips to Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United to come during the rest of January, the Reds are heading into a crucial phase in the title race.
City were relentless on the run-in last season and it is important that Liverpool don’t give them any opportunities to close the gap over the coming weeks.