Both Manchester United and Liverpool are still seeking their first win of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, but it is the Red Devils who may be fearing the worst at Old Trafford on Monday evening.
Original article published 21 August 2022
Liverpool are already playing catch-up in the title race after being held to score draws with Fulham and Crystal Palace, but United are towards the foot of the Premier League table after suffering defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
The Red Devils will also be well aware that their two meetings with Liverpool last season saw them lose 4-0 at Anfield after enduring a 5-0 hammering at home.
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Manchester United v Liverpool
Old Trafford, Manchester
20:00, Monday 22nd August 2022
How to watch
Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event
|Odds||Manchester United 4/1, Draw 16/5, Liverpool 13/20|
Jurgen Klopp would have hoped for a stronger start to the season but the trip to Old Trafford provides them with the perfect opportunity to regain the winning touch.
Liverpool were well off the pace in the 2-2 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage in their opening game and a moment of madness from Darwin Nunez, who was sent off before the hour mark, may have cost them maximum points in last Monday's 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace.
A long list of injuries are not helping their cause but United's problems appear to lie much deeper.
Klopp remains without Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Ibrahima Konate, Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Monday's match but Roberto Firmino's return should at least help negate the loss of the suspended Nunez.
With Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz spearheading their attack, Liverpool have the necessary weapons to take care of a United side bereft of confidence.
The Reds have lost only one of their last 14 Premier League away games and they have won their last three competitive meetings with old rivals United, scoring 13 goals along the way.
Having leaked six goals in losing their opening two games to Brighton and Brentford, United are faced with another torrid task, making Liverpool look worthy favourites at 13/20.
Liverpool were 5-0 winners at Old Trafford last season and then won 4-0 in the reverse fixture at Anfield. Salah stole the show on both occasions, netting five of the nine goals, and is 4/1 to open the scoring and 6/5 to net anytime.
The six goals United have conceded this season have all come in the first half and Liverpool, who were 4-0 up at half-time on their league visit here in October, are 11/10 to be ahead at the break, which must make some appeal.
Liverpool may be winless from their first two games, but United have started the campaign like a club in crisis, losing 2-1 at home to Brighton before enduring a 4-0 thumping at Brentford.
The arrival of Real Madrid holding midfielder Casemiro may soon give Erik ten Hag's defence the protection it needs but the Brazilian is ineligible for Monday's fixture, meaning the problems may continue.
Even so, there is no short-term fix for United who have lost all identity and have now suffered defeat in seven of their last 10 Premier League games.
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Cristiano Ronaldo has cut a lonely figure up front and continues to look isolated while defensively they are a shambles, with the new centre-back partnership of Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez currently failing to live up to their price tag.
The Red Devils, who finished sixth in the Premier League last season, have managed only one clean sheet in their last 13 competitive fixtures and conceding the first goal could be fatal to their chances.
An early goal for Liverpool may soon see the home crowd get restless and a whirl of negativity surrounding Old Trafford would only benefit the visitors.
Ten Hag needs time to implement his ideas on this squad but patience is already wearing thin amongst the United faithful, hence the desperation to recruit new personnel.
But their current crop of players are performing well below expectations and, even accounting for Liverpool's absentees, they look up against it.
Last season United lost both Premier League meetings with Manchester City and Liverpool by at least two goals and little has happened in the early parts of this season to suggest they will be more competitive against the top clubs this term.
The men from Merseyside are 6/4 to cover a handicap start of -1, which is well worthy of consideration.