United are odds-on to win the showdown with Liverpool

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Liverpool may not be title contenders these days but their showdowns with Manchester United are as eagerly-awaited and keenly-contested as ever.

Indeed, the intense rivalry between the two should make for an intriguing renewal at Old Trafford on Sunday even though the league table suggests it should be a stroll in the park for the hosts.

Perhaps not surprisingly given their strong home record, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are odds-on favourites at 5/6 with bet365 to collect all three points while the Reds are as high as 7/2 courtesy of Stan James to hamper United’s championship ambitions.

At 14/5 courtesy of BetVictor, the stalemate will certainly be well backed but punters should be aware that the pair have only been inseparable twice in 30 league and cup meetings so the statistics point to a conclusive affair.

Encouragingly for the visitors, only Swansea in the top half of the Premier League table have conceded more goals on their own patch than the league leaders so Ladbrokes’ 4/7 for both teams to notch at least once is about as safe a bet as there is.

Nevertheless, leaky at one end, United have simply tended to outscore teams at the other and that’s the likely outcome here. Betfred’s 7/1 for them to shade it 2-1 catches the eye then and it might even be worth considering a modest flutter on a 3-2 scoreline at 25/1 (Stan James).

Alternatively, bet365 post 10/3 against a home success by a one-goal margin and in attack, with nine goals in nine games Robin van Persie can’t put a foot wrong at the moment so he’s hard to overlook at 7/2 in BetVictor’s first scorer market.

In what is a huge day of top-flight action on Sunday, champions Manchester City head to Arsenal for a clash the bookies are finding hard to call.

Some firms can’t separate the two, which will inevitably push punters towards Stan James’ draw quote of 5/2 but the unconvincing Gunners aren’t exactly water-tight defensively and at 7/4 courtesy of BetVictor, City can capitalise at the Emirates Stadium.

At the Britannia Stadium, Chelsea are odds-on at 10/11 (Skybet) to account for Stoke’s unbeaten home record but that price looks a touch short given the difficulty of the assignment and a more attractive proposition is BetVictor’s 6/4, chalked against Demba Ba notching at any point for the Blues.

Tottenham come face-to-face with former boss Harry Redknapp and his QPR side at Loftus Road on Monday and it’s a safe-looking 5/6 courtesy of Paddy Power for Spurs to make it a disappointing reunion for the Hoops manager. Meanwhile, Everton can boost their hopes of securing a European berth by beating Swansea for the second time this term, an outcome bet365 quote at 4/7.

At the bottom, Skybet post 12/5 against Aston Villa and Southampton sharing the spoils but survival setbacks are on the cards for Reading and Wigan, who are 7/5 (Stan James) and 20/21 (BetVictor) respectively to lose to West Brom and Fulham.

Finally, at Carrow Road, ex-Newcastle boss Chris Hughton is 23/20 with William Hill to guide Norwich to a victory over his old club and it’s 12/5 via Skybet for Sunderland and West Ham to be inseparable at the Stadium of Light.

In tennis, Andy Murray successfully retained his Brisbane International title as he finalises preparations for the Australian Open, which gets under way on Monday.

Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and he’s a 5/4 favourite with Skybet to capture the year’s first Grand Slam for the fourth time. However, having landed his first major in New York in 2012, Murray will feel under less pressure and on a surface he enjoys the Scot is decent value at 5/2 (bet365).

Bet of the week – Andy Murray to win the Australian Open – 5/2 (bet365)

Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com.