Man United vs. Liverpool is a proverbial titans clash, and one of the most hotly contested derby matches in world football looks set to be another screamer on January 15. Heading into the match, Liverpool is certainly the form team. However, despite four places separating them in the Premier League, the gulf between the two teams might not be as wide as some would think.
In overall terms, Liverpool is currently outpacing their Premier League rivals with 44 points to 39. Now, as any football aficionado will tell you, a six-point gap after 20 games might as well be 60 points when you’re fighting for the title. With the top teams barely losing more than a handful of games each season, hoping to secure two wins while your closest rival slips twice are almost futile.
Of course, overcoming a six-point gap is not impossible, it’s just improbable. Just how improbable? Well, according to Sun Bets experts, the chances of United overtaking Liverpool and the rest of the top five is 16/1. In contrast, Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently the 9/2 second-favourites for the title behind Chelsea (3/4).
So, if United’s chances of closing the gap are just improbable and not impossible, it also stands to reason that they have a chance of winning on Sunday. Before we break down the best bets, let’s take a quick look at the numbers. Yes, Liverpool has opened up a sizeable points gap. But, when you look at the individual numbers, United isn’t that far off the pace.
Liverpool’s 13 wins aren’t drastically better than United’s 11. Similarly, United’s three losses are only one more than Liverpool’s two. In fact, when we look at goals against, United actually have the upper hand with 19 against vs. 23 against. OK, so what does this tell us? Well, the first thing to note is that things aren’t as bad at United as people may have first assumed.
Thanks to an unfortunate combination of past achievements, current expectations and sensationalist media coverage, United’s drop in form over the last season or so has been characterised as disastrous. While it’s fair to say it’s a far cry from the Ferguson glory days, it’s also true that it’s not a disaster.
In fact, if we accept this fact and remove our emotions from the situation, it quickly becomes clear that United has a chance in this match. Moreover, when we factor in that this match will take place at Old Trafford, it seems any initial assumptions that this will be a comfortable win for Liverpool seem to fade away.
If nothing else, Man United vs. Liverpool will be a close, competitive match. In fact, the bookmakers seem to agree. Despite the Premier League table, recent form and fan fever suggesting Liverpool is primed to clinch the latest derby match, the odds tell a different story. For those wanting the best outright price in the current conditions, William Hill is offering 11/4 on Liverpool and 23/20 on United.
A tenner on the former at that price would return you £37.50, while the same on the latter would give you £21.50. Of course, with the gap between the two teams being tighter than many would assume, a draw could also be on the cards this weekend. Coral’s odds makers are offering 9/4 on a stalemate, as is William Hill. For a touch more value, Sun Bets will give you 23/10 on a draw, which means £10 could be worth £33.
However, with this match promising to deliver on all fronts, it seems wise to look beyond the outrights and towards some specifics. Both teams to score at 3/4 with Sun Bets looks a strong, if not fairly uninspiring shout.
For our money, though, United to win from behind looks a tasty proposition. There’s no doubt Liverpool is going to travel to Manchester with the bit between their teeth. Recent form and Premier League superiority will allow Klopp’s men to come out firing, and if likes of Firmino can start strong, an early goal is a distinct possibility.
However, with United on a run of five wins and the home crowd backing them, a comeback will always be likely. Yes, it could end in a draw, but with odds of 10/1 on United coming from behind to win, it seems that it’s worth taking a punt on the more outlandish outcome.
Whatever the result, Man United vs. Liverpool will be another high-octane match. But, if you’re looking for a cheeky punt, a few quid on United to steal the show should give you a few more reasons to smile come the final whistle.
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