Premier League football returns this weekend following the enforced international break, allowing England to continue their highly successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. It’s not a moment too soon for followers of the English top-flight either.

Round nine takes place over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. No less than eight games will be played on Saturday, two of which will be treated to the live TV treatment. It’s a real celebration of British club football and supporters are salivating at what’s in store.

Rivals Clash at the Theatre of Dreams

Saturday might bring quantity, but the quality very much comes on Sunday when Manchester United and Liverpool lock-horns at Old Trafford. These old rivals renew battle at the theatre of dreams from 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports.

Armchair fans have plenty to get excited about, as do sports bettors. Major bookmakers serve up a feast of pre-match and in-play betting markets, including match winner, first goal scorer, total goals and both teams to score. Bet wisely and you could profit from the 90 minutes that lies before us. The early betting exchanges have league leaders Liverpool as 5/6 favourites with Betfair, priced ahead of the draw at 16/5 (Betway) and a home cheer at 19/5 – best price with Bet Victor.

Preseason of Promise Goes Sour

It was a preseason of promise for Manchester United and their fans with the club tying down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent deal before splashing the cash in the summer transfer window. The Red Devils were one of the biggest spenders in European football this year, investing heavily in youth and energy. It was believed the young, ambitious players brought in would hit the ground running and help drive United back to the top-four and Champions League football.

They may still do that, of course, but if the red half of Manchester are to finish in the prize places they have a lot of work ahead of them, not to mention a lot of making up to do to fans. Many believe they have already seen enough and are calling for the head of Solskjaer before he can do anymore damage. The former striker’s reputation is in danger of being tarnished by his poor start as a manger. He will be desperate to turns things around but, at present, there’s no getting away from the fact Man Utd just haven’t been good enough.

The stats show they go into the round down in 12th position, below the likes of Crystal Palace, Burnley, West Ham, Bournemouth and Wolves. To make matters even worse, they have won only two of their first eight, losing three and drawing three. Man Utd have scored nine goals and conceded eight. Supporters will be crying for us to stop, but things are dreadfully bad for a club of this size, especially on the back of major investment. The hosts are 1/2 at Sky Bet to score a goal.

No Surprise to See Traders Back Liverpool

It’s little surprise to see Liverpool go into this match as betting favourites with bookmakers scrambling to keep Jurgen Klopp’s side close. The Reds have made a perfect start to their campaign after finishing a near second last year. They have won each of their first eight games, collecting 24 points. At the same time, Liverpool have scored a whopping 20 goals and conceded just six. It’s still very early in the season but fans are beginning to dream about a famous unbeaten season and title win for their heroes. Whisper it at this stage.

Virgil Van Dijk in action during the UEFA Champions League final match between Real Madrid vs Liverpool FC , at the NSC Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, on 26 May 2018

We saw Liverpool last in action when beating the much-improved Leicester City 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday 5 October. A challenge was expected from Brendan Rodgers side and that’s just what they delivered. Mane broke the deadlock late in the first half, but that advantage was cut out by Maddison with 80 minutes on the clock. A late sucker-punch and with the game heading for a share, Miler scored a 95th minute penalty to swing the points back towards the home team. It was a little too close for comfort but grinding out wins is the hallmark of a champion.

Jurgen Klopp is the manager of Liverpool but he’s also an honest man and a football lover. He proved that again in his post-match press conference, telling journalists he thought it was a super game. The gaffer took pride in the way his team upped the tempo in the second half and fought all the way to the finish line. Both teams to score again in a Liverpool win on Sunday is 13/5 when getting your cash down at Betfair.

Form Shows These Sides Are Well Matched

Followers of the stats may be interested to know that two of the last four games involving Man Utd and Liverpool have ended in goalless draws. Going back a little further and an eye-catching five of the last seven have seen a level finish. Will this one fall into line? The draw is 16/5 with Betway or those pushing their luck can try the 0-0 correct score at 12/1 with Coral. That’s sure to attract bits and pieces of attention.

Pushing on with the trends and we see Sadio Mane – who has been in fine goal scoring form of late, netted the first goal when Man Utd and Liverpool clashed for the first time in the 2018/19 season. Marcus Rashford has scored two goals in his three most recent starts against Liverpool. His employers will need him to be sharp again if they are to get anything here.

Stats

  • Liverpool have scored 34 90th minute winners in the Premier League
  • Five of the last seven Man Utd and Liverpool matches have been draws
  • Liverpool are the first team to win their first eight league matches twice
  • Rashford has scored two goals in his last three games v Liverpool
  • Sadio Mane has scored 50 Premier League goals for Liverpool