Super Sunday kicks off with one of the most-anticipated games of the Premier League season as Manchester United host Liverpool.
The Red Devils enter the match in hot form having won their previous five games.
Liverpool won both fixtures between these two sides last season but have made an inconsistent and below-par start to their 2014-15 campaign. They head to Old Trafford after their unexpected elimination from the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday when they were held 1-1 by Swiss Super League side FC Basel at Anfield.
Many pundits and bookmakers are tipping the home side to win this afternoon and here are the five reasons behind why we think Manchester United will take all three points:
1. Manchester United form
All winning streaks have to come to an end at some point but we really don’t see Liverpool being able to halt Manchester United’s current run. In this time, the Red Devils have won at both Arsenal and Southampton – two sides both above Liverpool in the league. Their home victories include a 3-0 thumping of Hull City. David de Gea has conceded only one goal in his last three games at Old Trafford.
2. Liverpool defence
Kolo Touré is a doubt for today’s match. The Liverpool defence started to look decent with the 33-year old in the middle. Without him, the partnership of Martin Škrtel and Dejan Lovren has looked leaky. The Reds have conceded 19 goals in their first 15 games this season – that was the most amongst the top nine at the start of the weekend. In goal, Simon Mignolet’s positioning has looked poor and the full-backs haven’t looked great either.
3. Liverpool attack
Liverpool became only the third team in Premier League history to score 100+ goals in a single season, only last season. The sale of Luis Suárez and the long-term injury of Daniel Sturridge has affected that greatly. Only Newcastle had scored fewer amongst the teams in the top nine at the start of the weekend.
Injuries in Manchester United’s defence should greatly favour Liverpool but they will be relying on Rickie Lambert and the pace of Raheem Sterling to cause problems because not a lot of other players have showed a great deal of threat this season. Unless of course Steven Gerrard gets to take a few more penalties – he scored two in three attempts in this fixture last season.
4. Liverpool form
Some people have questioned Brendan Rodgers’ future and a couple have even asked whether he’s lost the dressing room. Officially, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last five in all competitions, but this is still poor when you consider that it includes drawing 2-2 in Ludogorets, 0-0 at home to Sunderland and 1-1 at home to FC Basel. Their two victories came against Stoke City and Leicester City. Prior to this run they had lost four straight.
Rodgers’ side sit ninth in the Premier League before kickoff – victory would take them to seventh. They were of course runners-up last season.
5. Rooney & van Persie
Manchester United’s strike duo have found their form of late. Robin van Persie was the hero on Monday night with a brace to help his side collect all three points at St Mary’s. The Liverpool defence is going to have a tough time stopping them, especially when they will be fed by playmakers Juan Mata and Ander Herrera.
Marouane Fellaini is an aerial threat and Liverpool have been notably poor at defending set pieces this season. Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia offer pace down the wings too, giving United attacking threat from all angles.