The Premier League action thankfully resumes this lunchtime after another international hiatus and there are arguably not many bigger clashes than the one which will be on offer at Anfield as Liverpool play host to their long time arch rivals Manchester United .
The table is starting to balance itself out after the first seven matches of the season as teams find what you would consider their natural level. This is no more apparent than in the top six as the usual faces gravitate to their places where you would expect to be come the end of the campaign.
There is however one team that is sitting outside the top six at present and that is Liverpool. They are the outsiders looking in regards to the top six and they can ill afford to drop further ground this lunchtime when Jose Mourinho brings his unbeaten Manchester United side to Merseyside.
Liverpool will once again have to do without Sadio Mane, he recently re-established himself in the side after serving a three match suspension due to his sending off against Manchester City but there is more misery for Jurgen Klopp as the Senegalese forward picked up an injury on international duty.
That said though there was frustration for Jose Mourinho due to international matters as Marouane Fellaini joined Paul Pogba on the treatment table after picking up an injury of his own while representing the Belgian national side last week.
With United now missing out on both Pogba and Felliani this lunchtime it means that Ander Herrera will be called upon in the centre of midfield. He will however have big shoes to fill perhaps figuratively and literally as both the absent players have impressed so far this season.
Liverpool will target this area as of something of a perceived weakness but when you mention weaknesses it is still their defensive unit which is coming in for some criticism. They gifted Joselu a farcical goal at St James’ Park before the international break in a game that they should have really taken three points from
It was that failure to win that sees the club sit in 7th place at present and as scintillating as they are in attack they are far too generous at the back. The fact that they have scored 13 goals at one end and conceded 12 at the other tells it’s own story.
Liverpool conceded five against Manchester City last month and although you could add the caveat that they were down to 10 men for the whole of the second half that capitulation would have been something of a massive concern to Jurgen Klopp.
It seems as if there will be a Premier League goal rush this season between the two Manchester clubs and the visiting Mancunians would love nothing more than to dish out a severe beating of their own, however with them having to make the short trip to Merseyside I’m not sure if the winning margin would necessarily be that big.
A lot will depend on whether Romelu Lukaku can continue his very impressive scoring form. He has scored in six of United’s first seven Premier League games of the season. The only game he did not score in was the 2-0 win over Leicester at Old Trafford which saw the Belgian miss a penalty.
It’s a return to Merseyside for Lukaku with Liverpool ultimately still the enemy in his view after swapping the Everton Blue for his current employers. He would love nothing better than to silence The Kop and find the net later on and with the form he is in you would not put it past him.
And that is what it will ultimately boil down to if Lukaku can get any joy from a very inviting Liverpool defence then it might be a day to forget for Liverpool as their arch rivals open up a 10 point gap at the top of the Premier League table.
Liverpool are dangerous going forward there is no doubt of that but the danger comes from within and that is their back line. I think they will score but unfortunately for them I think they will concede more at the other end. Both teams to score but United to come out on top, an away win for me.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
Time for another raft of Premier League Weekend "Scientific Polls"
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) October 13, 2017