Manchester United’s home defeat to Swansea suggested that Louis van Gaal might not be capable of transforming the Red Devils into credible title challengers overnight but that aside, clues as to the eventual destination of the Premier League crown were few and far between over the opening weekend as last season’s top four all picked up victories.
However, Monday night might provide the first real indicator as champions Manchester City and last term’s runners-up Liverpool renew hostilities at Eastlands in the first scrap between teams with genuine ambitions to be top dogs.
Aided by home advantage, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are odds-on at 17/20 (William Hill) to follow up their 2-0 success at Newcastle by striking an early blow in the title race while Stan James price the Reds at 10/3 to collect another maximum haul and BetVictor chalk a potentially popular 3/1 against an inconclusive contest.
The teams tend to conjure up plenty of goals between them; indeed, the last five league and cup meetings between the two have generated 20. A tally of three or more catches the eye then at 4/6 via Skybet ahead of this one and punters fancying a stalemate might be tempted by bet365’s 14/1 for it to finish two-each, a result that has cropped up three times in five renewals.
However, City looked more convincing than their rivals last week and on their own patch they should just about have the edge in the mouth-watering battle. BetVictor quote them at 8/1 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline, betway offer 13/5 about a home win and both teams finding the net while the hosts are 31/10 (Ladbrokes) to prevail by one.
Man City to beat Liverpool by one – 31/10 (Ladbrokes)