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Only a win will do for Van Gaal and Rodgers if they are to keep the wolves from the door

11 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Only a win will do for Van Gaal and Rodgers if they are to keep the wolves from the door

Manchester United versus Liverpool may not be as signficant as years gone by, but for their managers Saturday's result could decide their legacy

When looking back over the history of Sir Alex Ferguson’s distinguished reign as Manchester United manager, people often point to a very specific turning point.

Of course, such events tend to be embellished as the years go by – but it is said that a scrappy headed goal by Mark Robins in an FA Cup third round tie in January 1990 away to Nottingham Forest once saved Fergie’s job.

With the vultures circling, the 1-0 win for his injury-ravaged side was enough to convince the board that, despite the bumpiness of the path that he had taken them down so far, he knew exactly where he was leading United – as he emphatically proved during the next quarter of a century.

Now, 25 years later, Louis van Gaal finds himself at a similar crossroads ahead of what always constitutes itself as one of the Red Devils’ judgement days.

As does Brendan Rodgers for that matter.

Liverpool and Manchester United may still be undeniably the most successful names in England, but these are uncertain times for the two most-decorated clubs in the country.

Unconvincingly efficient starts by both teams were undone before the international break with their first defeats of the season, heaping the pressure back on their managers as questions regarding their philosophies and spending savvy resurfaced.

All context aside, Saturday evening’s match is unlikely to be a classic.

Thus far, Liverpool have scored the joint-fewest number of goals in the league.

United only have one more, and even they were helped out with an own goal on the opening day.

It says much for their faltering firepower that two newly-promoted clubs in Norwich City and Bournemouth have each scored the same number of goals as the two great footballing institutions combined. 

All of which would suggest that we are in for a low-scoring affair – with a price of 2/1 on there being under 1.5 goalsutd-liv-offer3+ goal special: Place a bet on Manchester United v Liverpool, and if there are three or more goals scored in the match we’ll refund losing bets with a free bet equal to your stake up to £20

Liverpool are unfortunate to be missing their best player of the season so far in Philippe Coutinho through suspension, with the onus being transferred onto another Brazilian playmaker to provide the spark.

Roberto Firmino has either been used from the bench or hooked after an hour, but with more time on the pitch likely to be afforded to him this weekend he is 4/1 to score at any time.

Christian Benteke meanwhile has endured a similarly frustrating start to his Liverpool career.

However, he did score Villa’s only goal in both of their meetings with Manchester United last season while relying on inferior service – and the Belgian is 7/2 to be Liverpool’s first goal scorer against the same opposition on Sunday.

At least Rodgers can fall back on the fact that Benteke is proven at Premier League level – something that cannot be said of Louis van Gaal’s most expensive signing of the summer.

All eyes will be on Anthony Martial to see how the priciest teenager in football fares – although with the United manager this week making the surprise statement that he was in fact bought with his successor in mind, he may well be introduced from the bench.

His lightning pace will certainly scare an uncertain Liverpool defence, with the Frenchman priced at 11/2 to announce himself to the Premier League by scoring the last goal of the game. 

Fresh from making history this week, Wayne Rooney will likely continue as United’s central striker as he looks to chase down Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United goal-scoring record having taken over his international one.

All five of Rooney’s goals against Liverpool to date have come in United wins and he is 11/2 to add to that record on Sunday by scoring first in another victory for the Red Devils.

With neither side in great form, home advantage could well prove crucial.

United have won five of their last six league matches against Liverpool at Old Trafford, with the only exception coming when an inspired Luis Suarez put another nail in the coffin of a beleaguered David Moyes, who was sacked a month later.

Much has changed for both clubs since then – and a positive result on Saturday could well be the difference in warding off another period of upheaval at either Old Trafford or Anfield.

Just like Ferguson against Forest, for both Rodgers and Van Gaal it is a case of any win will do.

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