David Moyes’ first competitive game in charge of Manchester United resulted in his first piece of managerial silverware since he guided Preston North End to promotion from the Football League Second Division. Now known as League One.
Then his side put in an average performance away to Swansea in their Premier League opener and still walk away with a very comfortable 4-1 win. ‘This is a piece of piss’, he must have been thinking. No wonder Sir Alex had the time on his hands to become a wine connoisseur and race horses.
Then along came the Old Trafford adversary José Mourinho to suck the fun right out of Moyes’ United adventure. Holding United to a 0-0 draw in a game so dull that Michael Owen’s commentary would almost have seemed interesting. But only almost.
Now he has his second big clash in a week with a trip to Anfield. Moyes knows all about passionate rivalries with Liverpool from his decade at the Everton helm. A win by any means necessary on Sunday will endear him to the travelling supporters. A draw won’t do him any harm at all. But a defeat will have the doubters doubting. Ridiculously prematurely of course but such is their wont.
Defeat would also see United fall five points behind Liverpool after just three game. The last time Liverpool held that kind of lead over United in the league perms were all the rage. Before the pedants start mailing in there was a short spell around January 2009 when perms briefly came back in to fashion. The point is that United fans will have to deal with a lot guff from Liverpool fans about their empire crumbling and how the Merseysiders are on their way back to the top.
The odds suggest this is going to be a tight affair but where has your money being going?
1.Who’ll win the game?
Manchester United at 9/5 has proven too tempting for many punters with 75 per cent of the money pouring in for an away win on Sunday morning. Liverpool have their supporters for home win at 13/8 with the draw the least-favoured option.
2. Draw No Bet
Almost 84 per cent of the early money is for United at evens in this market with punters opting for the safety net of getting their money back if the game ends level. Liverpool at 8/11 has yet to catch fire.
3. First Goalscorer
There are two stand-out favourites in this market. Robin van Persie at 9/2 and Daniel Sturridge at 6/1. That’s hardly a surprise given that (including the Community Shield) both players have four goals in their first three games for their sides. With an injury doubt around Wayne Rooney, RVP has attracted 50 per cent of the cash, Sturridge 20 per cent and Steven Gerrard 10 per cent. The rest is spread over a couple of ‘big lads from the back’ hitting the onion sack.
4. Correct Score
There has been some sensible betting going on in this market. Of course we have the usual crazy speculators backing scores like Liverpool to win 6-1, United to win 4-3 and the 4-4 draw. The most popular bets are Liverpool to win 2-1 at 8/1, Man United to win 2-1 at 9/1 and the 1-1 draw at 5/1. The last four meetings between these two sides in all competitions have finished 2-1.