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That’s Odd: Old rivalry to light up EPL as ISL awaits a new one

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Football fans around the world are in for a treat this matchweek with some of the biggest teams of their respective leagues facing each other over the weekend. While English Premier League will see a top of the table clash between Liverpool and Manchester United, the Indian Super League will see SC East Bengal clashing with Kerala Blasters.

Quite interestingly, both the leagues will find it hard to predict a favourite for their respective clash given how topsy-turvy the 2020-21 season has been for all the top teams.

Liverpool vs Manchester United

With both the Premier League giants emerging as title favourites in the mid 2020-21 season, the clash couldn’t have come at a better time.

While Manchester United lead the Premier League table with 36 points, Liverpool trail them by just three points. However, the Reds’ superior goal difference means a home win at the Anfield on Sunday will see Jurgen Klopp’s men leapfrogging their archrivals to the top position.

United come to the high-octane clash at the back of four wins in their last five matches while Liverpool have won only two of their last five PL games and lost one as well. However, Anfield has been a fortress for Liverpool where they are unbeaten in the last 67 Premier League games. In fact, Manchester United have lost at Anfield in their previous two fixtures.

Though the Red Devils enjoy a superior head-to-head against Liverpool, winning 88 times in the 144 times that they have clashed so far, their last win against Liverpool came in 2018. On paper, defending Premier League champions Liverpool remain a superior side as well and the odds will be in favour of Mohammed Salah and Co. to continue their winning streak at home.

SC East Bengal vs Kerala Blasters

While legacy and form play the prime factors in the Liverpool vs Manchester United clash, the blockbuster Friday match in the Indian Super League between SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters will be all about scripting history.

New ISL entrants, SC East Bengal will face Kerala Blasters for only the second time in Indian football’s history. And after a 1-1 draw in their last encounter, a win for either side this time will kick-off a brand-new rivalry.

Both the teams have struggled to find form in ISL 2020-21 so far. While the Red and Gold Brigade sit ninth with ten points from ten games, the Tuskers sit tenth with nine points. Interestingly, both the struggling teams have found wins approaching the fixtures. While SCEB defeated Bengaluru FC 1-0 in their last match, KBFC edged past Jamshedpur FC 3-2.

While the bottom of the table clash leaves little room for a favourite, the outcome is likely to come down to individual brilliance – something that the Tuskers have the edge in. Having scored 13 goals in ISL so far (three more than SCEB) – with their star Jordan Murray scoring four times in the last five matches – Kerala are expected to see three points on Friday.

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Jeff Kowalsky

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