Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to arch rivals Manchester United this weekend knowing that victory will be enough to claim second spot.
Confidence is sky high in the visiting camp after booking their place in the Champions League quarter-finals earlier this week and bettors will fancy Klopp’s men at 7/4.
For United, a win will cement their status as the second-best team in England. The Red Devils, priced at 13/8 to prevail, have an excellent home record and Jose Mourinho’s men will be quietly confident of securing three points.
For me though, the draw (5/2) is the one to be on – the selection has landed in each of the last four matches between the two sides.
Old Trafford IS A Fortress
The atmosphere may be lacking at times but United’s performances on the field are not. Since losing to Southampton in January 2016, the Red Devils have lost just two games – both to Manchester City.
That’s a grand total of 62 home games without defeat; United have won 44 of those encounters. 13/8 is an excellent price considering that record.
Romelu Lukaku has scored in four successive home fixtures and the Belgian will be keen to extend that run this weekend.
With 14 goals in 28 matches for the Red Devils, Lukaku has settled quickly at Old Trafford and he is central to their chances of victory. Currently valued at 5/1 to open the scoring, the United striker is well worth backing.
In the hunt for value, I stumbled upon Ashley Young at 11/5 to be carded. Taking Liverpool’s potent attack into account, this has a solid chance.
Young will need to keep tabs on the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for 90 minutes and United’s makeshift left back may struggle. Back Young to receive a card – if he starts…
Liverpool Juggernaut Will Take Some Stopping
Firmino, Mane and Salah have been simply sublime in 2017/18 – the Reds trio have scored 68 of Liverpool’s 105 goals so far this season.
Defensively, United are far from assured and Klopp’s side can exploit their weaknesses. The visitors are currently valued at 13/10 to score over 1.5 goals on Saturday afternoon...
Salah is a leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award and the Liverpool forward will be quietly confident of adding to his tally for the campaign.
The Egypt star has scored 32 goals this season – an incredible achievement. Already a firm favourite with the fans, Salah’s price of 37/20 to score in 90 minutes should be snapped up.
Emre Can is the pick of Liverpool’s players to receive a card – 6/4 is a short price but the Germany international will be tasked with slowing the United attack down.
If that means breaking up play and taking a yellow card for a professional foul, so be it. Jordan Henderson is another worth considering at a slightly longer 5/2.
Surely this one can’t be as dull as October’s fixture at Anfield? Both teams are capable of causing problems in attack and this could be an entertaining affair.
Liverpool will come out of the blocks quickly whilst United will try and combat that attacking threat. An early goal for either side could see this one blossom into a memorable encounter. A score draw looks likely…
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 LIVERPOOL (Priced at 27/5 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*