Manchester United are the underdogs as they take on Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. For the first time in years, the Reds look poised to finally end their Old Trafford hoodoo and register a win over their bitter rivals.
However, we're talking about United here, and you can never write them off. They are going through what is probably their worst start to a season, and sit 14th in the Premier League table, one point above the relegation zone.
But that’s what gives them the edge over Liverpool, who will be looking to continue their unbeaten run and strengthen their position at the top of the table. Here are five reasons why the Red Devils might just be able to edge past the Reds:
5. The Old Trafford Hoodoo
Most teams suffer when they travel to Old Trafford. Whether it’s due to the overwhelming support for the home team or just a mental block - getting a win at United’s stomping ground has proved to be a challenge for one too many of the big six.
Liverpool have an abysmal record at Old Trafford. They’ve picked up just one win in the last decade and failed to make the most of teams under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils, this season, have won two and drawn one game at home while Liverpool have four away wins to boast about.
It will be interesting to see if the Reds can finally end this hoodoo and get a win at Old Trafford.
4. United’s Defence a Force to Be Reckoned With
Statistically, United have the best defence in the Premier League this season, ahead of table-toppers Liverpool and defending champions Manchester City.
StatsBomb claims that while the reigning English champions' defence "looks fine," City have "0.77 xG conceded per 90, which is up from last season's 0.59."
The Red Devils' defence is likely to get a boost with the return of Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back. Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw could also be in contention to come back from injury, meaning Solskjaer may have his first-choice back line available after almost two months.
3. Liverpool's Defensive Lapses This Season
If there is a weak link in the Liverpool defence, then it is Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose serious commitment to attack can occasionally leave him frantically chasing back. And if United can get Daniel James to trouble Alexander-Arnold, the Reds could have a problem.
Their defence has looked shaky on a couple of occasions this season, and any team that lets RB Salzburg score three goals, need a good looking-at at their defence. Despite having conceded the least number of goals in the league, they have made uncommon mistakes while defending, but have been able to overcome them due to their winning mindset.
2. Klopp’s Old Trafford Record
It’s not just Liverpool that have had a hard time at Old Trafford, but Jurgen Klopp too has found it tough.
Klopp has managed more away games against Manchester United without victory than he has any other side in all competitions (D3 L1).
Last season's 3-1 win at Anfield was just Klopp's second triumph over United in nine attempts — and the first in the Premier League, and he's yet to find a way past the old enemy on away turf. There will be trepidation in the German's camp that United should try to exploit.
1. The Rivalry Factor
Liverpool are huge favourites to win but local rivalries often get the better of even the best teams in the world. Emotions run rampant and United can capitalise on some nerves in their opponent's ranks, which are inevitable for such a fixture.
The Red Devils have a chance to attack Liverpool on the counter, giving the likes of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James the chance to break at pace and catch the Reds by surprise at the back.
Rashford loves scoring against the top six, and scored a double in this very fixture in March 2018. His confidence will be boosted by a fine goal and strong performance for England against Bulgaria.
Manchester United are the underdogs as they take on Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. Here are five reasons why United might just be able to win