Manchester United vs Liverpool
It is the biggest game in English football. What’s more, it’s the second clash in a week between the two giants of English football.
Manchester United and Liverpool meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup and the scene is set for yet another showdown to savour.
Unlike the goalless draw last weekend in the Premier League, this time there has to be a winner and with no extra-time or replay if the sides are level after 90 minutes – the rules have changed for this congested season –it has the potential to be an attacking end-to-end contest full of FA Cup Highlights.
If you include battles in the 1890s when United were known as Newton Heath, these sides have met 18 times in this competition, including in finals.
It says much though that, arguably, the most memorable of all those clashes – certainly in modern day – was not a Wembley showpiece but a fourth round tie in which the now United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, capped a quite remarkable comeback.
The question now is, can he achieve the same as a manager at the same stage of the same competition at the same venue as he did as a player 21 years ago?
Solskjaer’s side are surprise leaders of the Premier League at the halfway stage of the season (albeit Man City will overtake them if they win their game in hand) and in good form, although a telling statistic is they have yet to beat a fellow top six club so far this term.
The Norwegian has vowed to ring the changes which could mean a number of regular starters are rested.
Victor Lindelof, who missed the midweek league win at Fulham because of a back problem, and Marcus Rashford, who began that game on the bench, could be in line for a return to the starting line-up, however.
As for Liverpool, they will be determined to return to winning ways after five games without a league victory.
Captain Jordan Henderson missed their defeat by Burnley with a minor muscle strain and, even if fit, may not be risked. Strikers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino could come back into the starting line-up though, the future of their talisman very much thrown back at the club in comments made this week by the Egyptian.
Centre back Joel Matip returned from injury against the Clarets but may not be selected with a big league game to come against Spurs next Thursday, although summer signing Kostas Tsimikascould be back in contention as manager Jurgen Klopp plans to field a strong team.
In fairness, these two clubs can barely do anything else with squads most others would envy, even accounting for Liverpool missing two of their first choice centre backs.
The Merseysiders’ only FA Cup win away to United came in 1921, when they won a first-round replay 2-1. What a repeat 100 years on would do for their confidence.
Overall, United have won 88 of their meetings in all competitions. Liverpool have 78 successes and there have been 68 draws – that’s as close as you would probably expect for the two dominant forces in English football.
Last season they drew 1-1 at Old Trafford in the initial league meeting.
The return fixture was a convincing 2-0 win for the Merseysiders as they highlighted the gulf between them and their rivals who were arguably at their lowest ebb of the campaign.
Of course, the league meeting last week also finished all square – that time at Anfield.
It was March 2014 when Liverpool last won at Old Trafford when they were chasing the title under Brendan Rodgers and United were in free-fall under David Moyes.
|Manchester United vs Liverpool||Over 2.75 @ 2.11|
|January 25, 01:00 (GMT+8)|
After recent form, the SBOTOP FA Cup betting odds make United slight favourites.
You can put your money on the Red Devils 1X2 @ 2.40 or with Asian Handicap odds -0.25 @ 2.16.
Alternatively, Liverpool are available to back 1X2 @ 2.58 and Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 1.70.
The draw – at the end of normal time – is on offer @ 3.20.
For a repeat of last year’s league meeting, correct score 1-1 will pay out @ 5.60. For a repeat of United’s famous 1999 success, correct score 2-1 will give you odds of @ 8.75.
These fixtures can often be tight affairs but it’s rare to get a goalless draw at Old Trafford and so total goal 2-3 @ 1.82 and even total goal 4-6 @ 3.20 are worth considering.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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