The English Classico gives the Premier League the perfect reboot after the tedium of the international break, as Manchester United and Liverpool renew ingrained grievances at Old Trafford.
Symmetrical starts to their top-flight campaigns, results wise, add extra intrigue to a fixture seldom in need of hyping.
Neither club held back in the transfer marker in the summer either, so there will be a host of players tasting the atmosphere of this grand old derby for the first time.
Having completed the double over Brendan Rodgers’ side last season, Louis van Gaal’s hosts are understandable 17/20 favourites to bag all three points, especially after running out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford last season.
However as this below merger of the two clubs hints at, unlike Michael Owen’s effort earlier in the week, this News.Ladbrokes offering is more reflective of the clubs’ mirrored starts to the campaign.
That doesn’t mean a few selections won’t ruffle a few feathers though!
With the sound of United fans spitting out their tea, the omission of Wayne Rooney, who has just broken the England goals record no less, needs some justification.
The simple fact is United’s captain has looked isolated in the striker’s role in the Premier League this season, and prior to his hat-trick against Club Brugge in Europe and two Three Lions penalties, his performances were being heavily criticised.
Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has notched for Liverpool and is a more comfortable exponent of the lone striker role given his attributes.
Rooney could have played at 10 also, if it hadn’t been for Philippe Coutinho’s magical start to the season before his suspension.
United do at least own both wide forward positions and tip the scales 6-5 overall, but Ander Herrera’s inclusion over someone like World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger may also agitate Red Devils, not to mention James Milner alongside him.
However, Herrera’s proved himself to be United’s most dynamic centre-mid this season when given the opportunities and free-transfer Milner’s is already proving to be a feather in the Reds’ cap after some fine displays, not least away at Arsenal.
The defence is fairly self explanatory, though Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind would also push for places occupied by Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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