MANCHESTER UNITED travel to Liverpool on Tuesday. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Liverpool vs Manchester United | Tuesday 19th March 2022, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Liverpool kept their quadruple hopes alive following their 3-2 win over Man City in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final. They’ll face Chelsea in May’s final.
But attention returns to the Premier League where Jurgen Klopp’s side can go top with victory over Man Utd. The Reds have been in fine form in 2022 – they’re unbeaten in the 12 top-flight games (W10, D2), keeping eight clean sheets in the process.
Now Man Utd arrive on Merseyside looking to put a dent into Liverpool’s title challenge, although they’d be giving their city rivals a huge advantage. Either way, there’s been little to shout about for the Old Trafford faithful since Ralf Rangnick took the reins.
While Liverpool were at Wembley, the Red Devils were making hard work of seeing off bottom of the table Norwich at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick single-handedly guided them to three points to keep their top-four ambitions alive.
United had only lost two of 13 away league games this term but have now lost two on the bounce after defeats to Man City (4-1) and Everton (1-0). It’ll be a tough ask to stop another red mark going into that away record here.
The betting angles
Liverpool are short. They should win this with ease. So, where can we shop around for some decent prices?
A lot will look towards Ibrahima Konate after netting his third Liverpool goal in as many games during the FA Cup semi-final victory against Man City. If you think he can make it four, he’s 14/1 to score anytime with William Hill.
According to Whoscored, the Reds have scored 15 times from set-pieces this season – no team has netted more. However, to balance that, United have only conceded six times from those situations. Whether the 22-year-old gets the nod ahead of Joel Matip will be one to look out for in the team news.
Now the first bet I’m taking is after doing some digging through some of Liverpool’s recent matches. Opposition left-backs have been making plenty of tackles against the Reds, so Alex Telles could be in for a busy night on Merseyside.
It’s 11/10 (Bet365) for over 2.5 tackles. And the Brazilian has hit some decent numbers in games this season. For what it’s worth, Sky opened at 4/9 for 3+ tackles in comparison, while Ladbrokes go EVS for the same line.
In November’s Manchester derby, he completed four in 17 minutes from off the bench. He also landed this line with three against Chelsea. In four other games this term, he’s managed to rack up 4+ when starting at left-back. That 4+ line with Ladbrokes is 12/5.
Going back to those opposition numbers against Liverpool, we can see Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney (4), Watford’s Hassane Kamara (7), Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo (6) and Man City pair Joao Cancelo (3) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (4) all landing decent figures up against Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
This should pan out with the hosts dominating possession and pinning United back, allowing Alexander-Arnold to be quite high forcing Alex Telles into plenty of tackles, which is why some of the more exotic lines could land.
I do think Sky Bet might have gone a little low with their Man Utd corner lines. 4+ at 11/8 looks quite appealing given how Liverpool can hold a high defensive line, which allows for runners in behind. If you’re Rangnick, you’re telling Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga to make those runs to exploit that space.
The Red Devils have taken 4+ corners in nine of 15 (60%) away games and 21 of 32 overall (66%). Their recent away games have seen them hit 6, 4, 6, 9, 10, 3, 3 & 7. Plus, they hit six in the home game against Liverpool despite going down 5-0.
On the road, they average 5.4 corners per away game, which is in keeping with their 5.34 average across the season. Part of the price factors in that Liverpool have only conceded 49 home corners in the top-flight all season. Seven visiting sides have hit 4+ corners at Anfield, including Southampton (7), Leicester (6), West Ham (6) and Norwich (4).
Bet365 have opened with a similar line at over 3.5 (11/10). So, the bookies aren’t expecting much from the Red Devils, but if they utilise the space behind Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on the counter, then they could give the hosts a few headaches.
The 11/8 price suggests a probability of 42% chance of United hitting 4+ corners, but as you can see, it’s landed in 60% of away games.
Given the rivalry between the two sides, I did look at cards, but Martin Atkinson being in charge puts me off. He averages only 2.3 cautions per league game, so not a lot compared to some. This season, 17 of his 23 games have seen under 4.5 cards.
Atkinson has done this fixture several times down the years. He famously sent off Steven Gerrard in 2015. Since then, he’s done this fixture three times, showing only five cards (2, 2 & 1). Again, that puts me off.
So, in a game that Liverpool should dominate, I’m happy to take these two odds-against plays.
Liverpool vs Manchester United – Alex Telles over 2.5 tackles (11/10 Bet365)
Liverpool vs Manchester United – Man Utd 4+ corners (11/8 Sky Bet)