The Barclays Premier League resumes after the international break with a tantalising fixture – Manchester United play host to Liverpool this Saturday.
Our guest today is neither a fan of the two bitter rivals. Dayo Oyelaja is a brand specialist and a fan of “the best club in London and England”, Arsenal.
He takes us through this match of the week and his predictions of the other nine fixtures.
Both teams have had a mixed and identical start to the season. They won their first two games by a solitary goal and drew their third game with a 0-0 result. They both suffered losses in their fourth game with United losing away to Swansea 2-1 and Liverpool humiliated by West Ham at home.
The Red Devils and the Reds will be looking to get back to winning ways, so we could be in for an engrossing Premier League encounter. United did the double over Liverpool last season winning 3-0 at Old Trafford and 2-1 at Anfield.
United could have David De Gea in goal after the goalkeeper signed a new contract. He was their player of the season for the past two campaigns and he could be instrumental in this game.
New £36m signing Anthony Martial could be involved as well, while midfielder Michael Carrick is doubtful with a calf injury.
Philippe Coutinho is suspended for Liverpool, while Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana could miss out again with foot and thigh injuries respectively.
Their star striker Daniel Sturridge is back in training but this match come too soon for him. He has not featured since he underwent hip surgery in May.
There are a number of important match-ups on the pitch that could have a huge bearing on the result but I will focus on just two.
Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren v Wayne Rooney
The Liverpool duo’s shambolic performance at home to West Ham has again put them under pressure to perform at Old Trafford, but Wayne Rooney is in just the right mood!
The 29-year-old is in cloud nine at the moment after breaking Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record in midweek. This match offers him an opportunity to score his first league goal of the season.
Rooney may not be quite the force he once was these days, but he still has the ability to make life difficult for the two centre-backs.
For all their faults, the Liverpool defence pair were playing well up until the West Ham defeat, and Saturday provides a perfect opportunity for them to show it was just a bad day in the office.
Keeping Rooney quiet and helping the Reds to a positive result would repay Brendan Roger’s faith in the players.
Christian Benteke v Chris Smalling
The battle of the Chris will be quite fascinating to watch.
Benteke will lead the line for the Reds, and will come up against one of the country’s most in-form centre-backs in Smalling.
The 6″4 Englishman is dominant in the air, winning an average of four aerial battles a game, and he will feel he can nullify Benteke’s greatest attribute.
The 24-year-old has been isolated up front at times, particularly against West Ham, and it is vital that Rodgers has more runners in and around him against United.
If he does, Liverpool’s big-money man has the strength and pace to give Smalling his toughest test of the season so far.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Sun 22/03/15 BPL Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United
Sun 14/12/14 BPL Manchester United 3 -0 Liverpool
Tue 05/08/14 ICC Liverpool 1-3 Manchester United
Sun 16/03/14 BPL Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool
Wed 25/09/13 LEC Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool
Manchester United have won seven of their eight most recent meetings with Liverpool in all competitions at Old Trafford, losing the other.
There hasn’t been a draw between these sides at Old Trafford since March 2000 – they’ve had 17 meetings since in all competitions.
This Premier League fixture has produced 16 red cards. Only Everton v Liverpool (20) has seen more.
Manchester United have lost just one of their previous 10 leagues games at Old Trafford (W7, D2).
However, they have only won three of their last 10 Premier League matches (D3, L4).
United have kept a clean sheet in three of their four league games this season.
Wayne Rooney needs one goal to move alongside Denis Law in joint-third of the club’s all-time leading league scorers, with 171. Only Bobby Charlton (199) and Jack Rowley (182) have scored more.
David de Gea has not kept a clean sheet in any of his last seven full 90-minute appearances in the Premier League.
Liverpool have taken four points from their two away matches this season.
However, they have only won one of their last seven away games in the Premier League (D3, L3).
Brendan Rodgers’ side have kept a clean sheet in three of their four league games this season – although they conceded three goals in their last match against West Ham.
They could fail to score in three consecutive league matches for the first time since February to March 2005.
Liverpool have hit the woodwork five times this season – a Premier League high.
A win would do either manager the world of good and will act as a huge momentum boost with both teams struggling so far in this campaign.
I expect it to be cagey and both sides to be careful in possession. From a neutral’s point of view, I give the game to the home side. 2-1
OTHER FIXTURES AND PREDICTIONS
Everton 1-1 Chelsea
Arsenal 2-0 Stoke
Crystal Palace 1-2 Man City
Norwich 2-1 Bournemouth
Watford 0-1 Swansea
West Brom 2-2 Southampton
Sunderland 1-3 Tottenham
Leicester 0-0 Aston Villa
West Ham 2-1 Newcastle