As domestic football resumes following the final round of UEFA qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Liverpool kick things off with a marquee clash against Manchester United at Anfield.
Liverpool are missing their key striker in Saido Mane, who is out for six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Adam Lallana is still missing but has resumed training away in the Middle East.
Right back, Nathaniel Clyne is still missing with a hamstring issue but there’s no return date.
Manchester United will have to cope without Marouane Fellaini, after the midfielder suffered knee ligament damage on international duty for Belgium.
Michael Carrick isn’t expected to captain the side due to a calf injury.
Centre back, Phil Jones could feature if has recovered from a knee injury.
Last time out
Before the fortnight break, Liverpool could only draw 1-1 away at Newcastle courtesy of Phillipe Coutinho giving them a lead.
Joselu however soon equalised after another defensive calamity leaving the Reds eighth entering this game.
Manchester United on the other hand, delivered a 4-0 drubbing at home to Crystal Palace.
Fellaini’s absence will definitely be felt because he got a brace whilst Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku bookended his goals.
Even that win wasn’t enough to give the Red Devils top spot as their cross city rivals, Manchester City kept themselves top with victory at Chelsea.
Game of two halves
This match could well be a tale of two halves based on when both sides tend to score.
Liverpool has a habit of scoring more in the first half with 53.8% of their goals coming before half time. That rate drops to 46.2% for the total number of goals to come in the match’s second stage.
Man Utd are however much more dominant in the second half with 66.7% of their 17 league goals coming after the break as is obvious in this graphic below.
That stat will give Liverpool some hope given that their goal per half percentage is much closer than United’s.
Their goal scoring to conceding ratio is however worrying given that they have scored 11 goals but conceded ten.
The visitors have however scored in every game so far with a total of 21 goals. Their defence have however only allowed in two goals with both coming at Stoke City in a 2-2 draw.
When it comes to going forwards, both teams are excellent despite Liverpool edging it on averages. The KOP have averaged 20 shots per game with 6.86 of those shots on target.
United however aren’t far behind averaging 17.43 shots a game with 6.71 of those on goal.
Ultimately, goals matter most and Jose Mourinho’s side fare better on that front with an average of 3 per game to 0.29 by their opponents.
Demonstrating how poor their defence is, Liverpool has averaged 1.86 goals over their seven matches so far with their opponents scoring an average of 1.71 goals in return.
That shows how key defence will be tomorrow given the difference between the teams and their opponents so far.
With this being a local derby, expect to see form go out of the window but Liverpool’s defence will need to be solid.
It will be a tough battle but if Liverpool want a point, they MUST score before half time. Don’t and I can see a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Prediction: Liverpool 0-2 Manchester United
Jake predicts: Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Result: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United