Someone will walk out of Anfield topping the Premier League table on Sunday, as Liverpool hosts Manchester United in a critical midseason match.
United currently leads the Premier League on 36 points, while Liverpool sit in third at 33.
Solskjaer: United Win Would be ‘Shock’
Liverpool holds an edge in goal differential, however. That means that if the home side can grab the full three points, they’ll take over pole position as the EPL season nears its midpoint.
That’s not to suggest that the Premier League is a two-team race, nor that this game will be decisive this early in the campaign. But both teams head into the match with an understanding that these points could prove crucial when the season ends.
Liverpool enters as a -106 home favorite, according to PointsBet, with Man United fetching +260. That makes United the underdog, a role that manager Old Gunnar Solskjaer has been eager to claim heading into the game.
“If you look at the last few seasons, it would be an upset, it would be a shock,” Solskjaer told reporters. “I’d rather be on top and have the points than chasing, but we are the challengers, the hunters, chasing the champions over the course of a long season. They’ve got the cup, they are the champions, the ones everyone would like to beat, and my players are the same.”
Even the personal history between the teams suggests that United faces an uphill battle. It hasn’t won at Anfield since 2016, and Liverpool handed United its last away loss in the Premier League, a 2-0 defeat a year ago.
Liverpool Still in Contention Despite Struggles
Despite all that, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t buying the idea that United comes in as an underdog.
“I have been five years in England and United was never an underdog,” Klopp told reporters. “[They are] always a good team, always great players, always really good managers and coaches. It was always there and now they are top of the table. That is how it is. They cannot be underdogs, but we play at home and we don’t see ourselves as an outsider or whatever just because they are ahead of us.”
|Premier League Sunday Odds (via PointsBet)|
|Sheffield United: +475||Draw: +260||Tottenham Hotspur: -159|
|Liverpool: -106||Draw: +265||Manchester United: +260|
|Manchester City: -625||Draw: +600||Crystal Palace: +1500|
Liverpool faces injury problems, particularly in the midfield. But Klopp has said that his squad hasn’t made any excuses for their relative struggles over the past two months.
“Obviously, we did not do outstandingly well since mid-November. But who cares?” Klopp said. “We still have 33 points. Yes, we are not exactly where we want to be, but we have learned a lot from this season. The circumstances, dealing with the situation, that kind of thing. It is not because of the boys’ attitude. It’s just because it didn’t work out.”
The game at Anfield is one of three matches on the Premier League Sunday slate, all of which have some bearing on the top of the table. Tottenham Hotspur (-159) looks to stay in touch with the leaders when it visits Sheffield United (+475), while Manchester City (-625) could move as high as second if it grabs a home win vs. Crystal Palace (+1500).