Liverpool host Manchester United in the Premier League tomorrow which is always one of the most-anticipated matches in the Premier League season after season.
Neither side have been overly impressive to start the season, however Manchester United can guarantee to finish the weekend in second position by picking up 3 points in Sunday’s 1.30pm kick-off.
Liverpool rested nearly all of their first team during Thursday’s 5-3 victory at Young Boys in the Europa League. Stewart Downing, Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey are the only players who featured in that game whom I believe have a chance of starting this match.
Manchester United fielded a fairly strong side in their 1-0 win over Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday night. However, Sir Alex Ferguson has rotated his side to start the season, with only Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick starting all 4 of their Premier League games. The Serbian has been sent off in 3 of his last 4 meetings with Liverpool and on both occasions he’s played at Anfield.
Robin van Persie has settled in immediately with his new side, joint-top scorer in the Premier League with 4 goals. 3 of those came during a 3-2 victory over Southampton, whilst the other came in spectacular fashion during a 3-2 win against Fulham. With Wayne Rooney injured, there is a good chance the Dutch ace plays as a lone striker. He scored both goals as Arsenal won 2-1 at Anfield last season. Javier Hernandez misfired after he came off the bench on Wednesday whilst Danny Welbeck has yet to hit a single shot on target from 10 attempts during his 252 minutes on the pitch so far this season.
Fabio Borini has managed to test the goalkeeper (twice) in 9 attempts during his 4 Premier League games since arriving from Serie A in the summer. It will be interesting to see if Brendan Rodgers sticks with him in this game. Liverpool have actually had 75 shots on goal this season; more than any team through 4 games. Despite this, they have only hit the back of the net 3 times.
Finishing has not been Luis Suarez’s strong point this season, but included in his 2 goals was a long range free kick against Manchester City. Suarez does get himself into goalscoring situations and could be headed for a few goals this season once he finds his shooting boots. He’s had 23 shots alone in 4 games. The controversial Uruguay has also created a dozen chances for his team mates this season, although none have found the back of the net. And he does have 7 goals in his last 11 league appearances.
Winless in 4 league games under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool are also without a clean sheet to start the season. They were soundly beaten 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion, drew 2-2 at home to Manchester City, were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal before drawing 1-1 at Sunderland last weekend.
Manchester United kept their first clean sheet of the season last weekend during a 4-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic. Prior to that, Manchester United had lost 1-0 at Everton before beating both Southampton and Fulham 3-2. It’s back-to-back clean sheets if you include the Champions League.
Following Nani’s saved penalty in the Champions League, Manchester United have missed penalties in each of their last 3 games. Robin van Persie had his effort saved at Southampton, and Javier Hernandez’s was saved by Ali Al-Habsi last weekend. Despite missing a penalty each time, Manchester United have gone on to win all 3 of those games.
7 of the 10 goals Manchester United have scored in the Premier League this season have been scored by players over the summer (Robin van Persie 4, Shinji Kagawa 1, Alexander Büttner 1 and Nick Powell 1). Rafael, Paul Scholes and Javier Hernandez are the other goalscorers. The Mexican has scored in each of his last two Premier League visits to Anfield.
Liverpool have won just 2 of their 11 Premier League games at Anfield in 2012; picking up just 10 points from a possible 33. These victories came against Everton and Chelsea when the opposition played weakened sides on both occasions.