Liverpool v Manchester United: Only one United player has scored at Anfield – guess who!

Mohamed Salah may be Liverpool’s best chance of getting through United’s sturdy defence, while Romelu Lukaku could have a field day against this Reds back line, as the stats suggest…

Liverpool and Manchester United have drawn their last three meetings, having previously gone 12 head-to-heads without playing out a draw

Before last season Manchester United’s recent record over Liverpool read W8 D0 L5 from 13 games, stretching back to 2011. But over the past 18 months Liverpool have brought an ever greater competitive edge to this fixture. Last season the Reds led 1-0 until the 84th minute at Old Trafford, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured a 1-1 draw for United. At Anfield, Liverpool had more possession (64.6% to 35.4%), more shots on target (3 to 1) and more corners (3 to 1) than their rivals but the game still ended goalless.. Given how both sides have started this season another Anfield draw is not out of the question.
 
Draw at 12/5
 
Juan Mata is the last current Manchester United player to have scored at Anfield (twice in a 2-1 win, March 2015)

Manchester United have laboured for goals at Anfield of late but their overall recent form on Merseyside has been fairly consistent. Since 2012 United have played 11 games at either Anfield or Everton’s Goodison Park, scoring nine goals. Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic account for two of those goals apiece. Juan Mata is the only current United player to have netted at Anfield. The Spaniard has been in relatively consistent form this season without being a world beater, but got his first goal of the campaign in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace before the international break.
 
Juan Mata to score first at 11/1
 
Manchester United remain unbeaten since their UEFA Super Cup loss to Real Madrid at the start of the season (W9 D1 L1)

Manchester United’s upturn in form has come as a surprise to some, but not to all. Jose Mourinho was allowed to spend big in the summer and he got in Romelu Lukaku before the transfer market exploded. It’s not just Lukaku’s goalscoring form (11 goals in 10 games) that have been the cornerstone of United’s success. Mourinho struggled for defensive solidity last season in large part due to injuries. Mourinho’s greatest successes have come with a rock-solid defence and he very nearly has that now. The midfield addition of Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini’s return to form means Mourinho has strength in depth when competing on domestic and European fronts and cover when, as happened, Paul Pogba got injured. United do have midfield injury concerns heading into this match but Moutinho will still expect at least a point from Anfield.
 
Manchester United to win/draw at 11/20
 
Liverpool have won just one of their last seven games but have scored in all but two of their outings this season

Goals are not a problem for Liverpool. Yes they can be slightly wasteful at times — they boast the most shots per game in the top flight (19.6) yet have scored just 13 times to United’s 21. But Jurgen Klopp’s side are always good for a goal, especially at home. The big conundrum for Klopp is how to stop his defence crumbling under pressure. Only Crystal Palace (17) and West Ham (13) have conceded more times that Liverpool (12) this season. The Reds have dropped league points from leads three times already. And they’re coming up against a United side who have scored 66% of their goals in the second half of games.

Liverpool/Man Utd on the HT/FT at 25/1
 
Mohamed Salah boasts six goals for Liverpool this season and heads into Saturday’s match after scoring three in two games for Egypt to secure his country World Cup qualification

Liverpool’s record buy Mohamed Salah was one of the early purchases in the transfer window and, like United with Lukaku, the Reds will be glad they got their business done before prices inflated towards deadline day. Salah has arguably been Liverpool’s best player this season. He’s scored six goals across all competitions and averages more shots per league game than any of his team-mates bar Daniel Sturridge (both 3.4). But other stats argue he’s less of a team player and strays into ‘greedy’ territory. Salah averages just 0.6 crosses per game — six of his team-mates average more. He’s 10th on Liverpool’s ‘key passes’ charts, defined as a pass that leads to a shot, at 1.1 per game. His pass success percentage is way down at 74.9% — 15 players have a better percentage in the Reds squad.. And assists-wise he’s managed just one in the league all season.
 
Mohamed Salah to score at 23/10
 

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