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Lee Dixon: Van Persie-powered United are irresistible value to beat Liverpool

RvP is set to play a big role on Sunday

"It's a tribute to Sir Alex that the current United side possess a desire to win that is as fierce as any of the classic teams of his reign."

Back United to win @ 1.9210/11

Manchester United v Liverpool remains the biggest fixture in English football and Lee Dixon is finding it hard to see anything other than a win for the champions-elect in the first game of a genuinely super Sunday...



Last weekend's incredible 90 minutes at Upton Park perfectly summed up Manchester United.

For the first 20 minutes they were rampant and we all thought the Hammers would be destroyed only for Fergie's men to hit a flat-spot and concede twice. Everyone expected an equaliser - and possibly a winner, too - but it was typical of United to leave it until stoppage time before forcing a replay. 

People go on about luck but that is downplaying the immense character that Sir Alex Ferguson's United teams have shown down the years. It's not luck if you do it time and again and United do it nearly every week it seems - they've rescued 24 points from losing positions in the league this year. 

I played in a team that were often accused of being lucky, but we weren't either. It's about having a team of believers, fighters and winners. That is a skill and it should not be dismissed lightly. 

Most importantly, it's a tribute to Sir Alex that the current United side possess a desire to win that is as fierce as any of the classic teams of his reign. Their attitude epitomises him as a manager, he still has it at 71 years of age, and he ingrains it in every player he signs. 

Liverpool are improving under Brendan Rodgers and they arrive at Old Trafford in decent form but I can't see anything for them here.  In fact, I've been trying to find a case for backing the visitors but it just comes down to the fact that this is Liverpool versus Manchester United. It's a monster fixture and there's always a chance of a freak result.  

But we have to weigh up the likelihood of any potential result against the odds available and a home win is irresistible at 1.9210/11.  

I've talked before about United's unbelievable firepower before but it bears repeating - this a phenomenal attack and Liverpool's defence will have to be at their very best to get anything from the game. Robin van Persie is on fire and, on reflection, signing the Dutchman was simple but genius, too. Opposition tactics just do not seem to matter with RvP at the moment and even at a shade of odds-on he is a tempting bet to score

Javier Hernandez has come off the bench in Wayne Rooney's absence and is scoring for fun, while England international Danny Wellbeck is not a bad presence on the bench is he?! 

Of course, Liverpool have their own star striker in Luis Suarez and I'm certainly not writing off the Uruguayan as a threat. I wonder whether we'll see Daniel Sturridge on Sunday and I think there are question marks as to how the two will operate. 

Rodgers' men may well gel but I don't think Sunday is the sort of day to be backing them. Opta tell us that only two teams have accrued more points than United after 21 games in a Premier League season. Sometimes you have to keep it simple. Back United to win. Back van Persie to score first. 

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Back United to win @ 1.9210/11
Back Van Persie to score first @ 5.04/1

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The Tactical View: Michael Cox

"I agree with Lee - Manchester United have won their last seven home matches in the Premier League, and although Liverpool might see a lot of the ball in the centre of midfield, I fancy United to record a victory. They've tended to start slowly at Old Trafford before storming back to win in the second half, and that fits with Liverpool's performance at Mansfield last week - a great first 30 minutes, then little for the final hour. I'll back United to win from behind at 7.5."

The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson

"It’s been 59 games since United failed to score at home in the league - December 12, 2009, when they lost 0-1 to Aston Villa. The champions-elect have scored two or more in nine of their 10 home games but have only kept three clean sheets at Old Trafford this season.

"They average 2.8 goals scored and 1.3 conceded per game this year - an average of 4.1 per game. Five of the last six meetings between these two have gone over 2.5. I don’t like 1.65 for Over 2.5 Goals but I will be backing over 3.5 at 2.56 before kick-off and then asking for a price of 2.0 in-running for Over 2.5 Goals to cover that stake should the early goal not come.

Lee says that Utd look outstanding value at 1.92. I totally agree. Liverpool are consistently over backed. If you'd blindly laid them for £10 every game this season you would be approx £70 richer now. To take advantage of these odds I will be not only backing Man Utd to win the game at 1.92 but I will also back Man Utd/Man Utd at 3.25 in the Half-Time/Full-Time market."

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13 January 2013

Premier League

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