Jose Mourinho has lost only three of his 10 visits to Anfield, the last in the 2007 Champions League semi-final, but it never involved the biggest football fixture in England.
Defeat for United would leave them six points behind their fierce north-west rivals but they have been patchy this season, and if this fixture was to be decided on form it would be a one horse race. Liverpool were poor in the first half against Swansea but showed enough discipline to turn things around and comeback from a one goal deficit to give Jurgen Klopp his fifth win in seven games this season.
Given they’ve faced Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea away from home and have played only two home games so far, it has been a remarkable start for the Merseyside club.
United, albeit under a new manager, have not clicked yet despite Mourinho suggesting their recent outing against Stoke showcased the Reds’ best performance under his management, even if it did end as a 1-1 draw.
Reflecting back on previous meetings, United won both league games last season but it was the first leg of their Europa League last-16 meeting that stands out most. Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield and utterly outplayed Louis van Gaal’s side. A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford saw Liverpool progress into the next round and, therefore, eliminate United from Europe.
Liverpool have a number of doubts heading into Monday night’s game. In the 2-1 win over Swansea, Nathaniel Clyne picked up a knock to his knee, whereas Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren both sustained groin injuries that kept them out of international duty.
Then, whilst away on international duty with the Netherlands, Georgino Wijnaldum limped out of their World Cup qualifying defeat to France, so all four mentioned are doubtful.
Manchester United suffered no injury setbacks during the injury break and Mourinho has confirmed the return of Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Maybe this is the moment Mourinho’s men show up and set off alarms.
Mourinho is likely to set his United side up to frustrate Klopp’s men, and if he can pull that off it will be a narrow away win. But form suggests a straightforward Liverpool win.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score anytime – 7/5 Bet365
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Draw – 5/2 SkyBet
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