It doesn't look good for Liverpool as they prepare to take on great rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in Sunday's live early Sky Sports fixture. The Merseysiders have lost eight of their last nine games there (the exception the famous 4-1 win in 2008/9) while Brendan Rodgers' men haven't managed to beat anyone in the top half of the table this season. Stack that up against United's home record of nine wins and a loss from their 10 league games at Old Trafford and it's hard to see anything other than Sir Alex and co banking yet another three points on Sunday. Given that, it's a real surprise that United are on offer at 5/6 as they should surely be shorter than that. True, they were fortunate to win at Anfield earlier in the season but that came very early in the campaign and now United are in full flow. Liverpool have conceded exactly three goals in a game six times this season so combine that with United's habit of letting one in and a 3-1 victory to the hosts looks a good correct scoreline option at 12/1. In seven of the last eight meetings between this pair, both teams have found the net so clean sheets aren't common. Steven Gerrard has an excellent scoring record against United so also have a dabble on both him and the prolific Robin van Persie finding the net. That pays 8/1 with Sky Bet. Both take penalties and there have been plenty in this fixture recently. The Dutchman has scored in eight of his last nine games while Gerrard has netted in three of his last five.
Sunday's second live helping from Sky Sports looks a trickier one to call with Arsenal 6/4, Man City 17/10 and the draw 12/5. The surprise when looking at the head-to-heads between these two is the lack of goals. The last five meetings have thrown up just five goals, those scorelines showing two 1-0 wins for City, a 1-0 for Arsenal, and draws of 0-0 and 1-1. An equally big surprise is that City have failed to score in each of their last five Premier League games at The Emirates. That could open the door for a punt on Arsenal to win to nil at 4/1 or even no goalscorer at a massive 14s. However, if pushed, I would call this game in favour of City, who have won their last three games and simply have to keep United in their sights. Perhaps the best way to back that idea up with cash is to take correct scorelines of 1-0 and 2-1 to City. Roberto Mancini's visitors are 9/1 to nick it with a single goal and 17/2 to win by the odd goal in three.
Going into the two massive weekend games, it's worth checking out the title and top four betting. Man Utd are red-hot 1/3 favourites, with City (seven points behind) at 3/1. Chelsea, who could pull to within three of second-placed City if they win their game in hand, are 14/1 while Arsenal are way out at 66s and Spurs 125s. Sky Bet have Straight Tricast betting and make Utd 1st, City 2nd, Chelsea 3rd odds-on at 5/6. It's 5/1 that Chelsea split the Manchester pair, relegating City to third. Rafa Benitez's men are just 1/8 to finish in the top four while 10/11 Arsenal are taken to edge out 6/5 Spurs for the other Champions League slot. Liverpool are 7/1, twice the price of Everton at 7/2.
Sunday's game at Old Trafford also features the Premier League's two leading marksmen - Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez. RVP has bagged 16 in the top flight this season with Suarez just one goal behind. It's two back to Swansea's Michu and Chelsea's new signing Demba Ba on 13. Sky Bet make van Persie 5/4 to top the charts and, to be honest, if he doesn't get injured I'd make him a (golden) shoe-in. He has the advantage of taking penalties whereas Suarez (5/2 for the Golden Boot) might start sharing some of the scoring workload with Daniel Sturridge, who netted on his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup last Sunday. Michu is 16s which is certainly a decent each-way shout given that it's 1/4 the odds 1, 2, 3.
Manchester Utd v Liverpool is live on Sky Sports 1 this Sunday. For more details click here
Arsenal v Manchester City is live on Sky Sports 1 this Sunday. For more details click here