Manchester United v Liverpool: FA Cup preview

Manchester United versus Liverpool: the rematch! One week on from playing out a dour 0-0 in a hotly anticipated Premier League fixture, the two red rivals meet again in FA Cup Round Four.

Last week, Liverpool dominated in terms of possession; they had more corners, shots, dangerous attacks… but they still didn’t look themselves as they failed to score for the third successive time, taking their unwanted goal drought up to 348 Premier League minutes. Despite trailing on most the major stats, a defensively stout Man Utd had late chances to win it and the Merseysiders ultimately had Alisson to thank for preserving a point.

The result means it’s now over a year since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost away from home in the top flight, but the rematch is at Old Trafford and it’ll be interesting to see if the Norwegian changes tact this time around. Man Utd set up for a point last week and got it, but with this being an FA Cup tie, you’d expect a bit more of an open game and a willingness to win in 90 minutes.

However, a goal glut is still unlikely. In last week’s blog, we suggested that Under 2.5 was the best play at 6/5, and although the price has come in following last weekend’s Anfield stalemate, Evens is available on a quiet affair in Manchester.

Man Utd are clearly strong flying forward but Sunday’s game saw midfield men Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba pose the biggest threat, combining for seven of the eight shots attempted. The pair were also key in the midweek win at Fulham – the Portuguese playmaker regularly testing the opposition before Pogba’s wonderful winner. Both players ooze quality and this may be an area that could prove fruitful again. Bruno Fernandes is 39/20 to score anytime, while Pogba is a sweet 16/1 to score first.

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is 9/1 to score first against Manchester United in the FA Cup
Roberto Firmino is 9/1 to score first against Manchester United in the FA Cup

On the other hand, Fabinho was the only outfield Liverpool player not to have a shot as Liverpool piled on the pressure. If the visitors have as much control of this game as they did at Anfield, then Roberto Firmino might have more luck in front of goal. He had five shots last week with no luck, but you can back the Brazilian at 9/1 to net first or last, and 13/4 at any point during the 90 minutes.

FA Cup Round Four: Upsets

The FA Cup has produced plenty of magic this season, but shocks could be few and far between in Round 4. That doesn’t stop us taking a very brief look at some of the potential banana skins, though. Nine Premier League clubs face lower league opposition, but which ones are susceptible to defeat?

Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton should all be fine. Wolves travel to Chorley on Friday night and despite the non-league side’s success en route to Round 4, it seems that we’ve heard ‘Someone Like You’ for the last time. Wolves and over 3.5 is 22/25 with Grosvenor Sport.

Manchester City eased past Birmingham City in Round 3 and it’s a formality that they do the business against Cheltenham Town of League Two. A few younger players may get a run out but the quality and strength in depth is there for all to see. If you’re on board for another rout, City and over 3.5 is 4/5. A double on both clubs to sail through in the above manner is 12/5.

Tottenham travel to Wycombe on Monday night four years on from hosting the Chairboys at this very stage. Spurs won that FA Cup classic 4-3 and should advance once more against the Championship strugglers. Everton also face a Championship side in the relegation zone – Sheffield Wednesday – and although the Owls have won four of their last five, the Toffees should prove too strong at Goodison Park.

Christian Norgaard celebrates with Brentford teammates after scoring against Southampton
Cup kings Brentford are poised to cause an FA Cup upset this weekend

That leaves a few contenders for the cup upsets but with all bar one of the Premier League teams at home, Brentford look in the best position to take a scalp – up against high-flying Leicester City. The Championship promotion contenders have already reached the Carabao Cup Semi-Finals this season and have showed they can compete with the very best in recent years. If Leicester decide to rest a few of their in-form starting XI, then the 19/5 to win looks very appealing.

Of the others, it’s easy to say Sheffield United are the most vulnerable. Sheffield United are the most vulnerable. See?! They scraped past Bristol Rovers in Round Three, which means Plymouth Argyle have every chance of giving them a game at Bramall Lane. While the Green Army are 6/1 to win, you can get 13/2 on Plymouth Double Chance, both teams to score and over 2.5 goals with the Grosvenor Sport Bet Builder.

Ready to make some FA Cup magic?

*Stated odds correct at time of writing

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