Paul Merson's predictions for Manchester United vs Liverpool and other Premier League GW3 fixtures

Manchester United vs Liverpool is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend
Manchester United vs Liverpool is the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend

The 2022-23 Premier League season might be just two weeks old, but we've already witnessed our fair share of drama and controversy. Brentford's 4-0 win against Manchester United is set to go down as one of the most iconic Premier League games in the history of the English top flight, while the fiesty London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur last weekend saw Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte clash multiple times on the touchline, much to the bemusement of everyone involved.

Liverpool's slow start to the season has also been a major talking point, with the Reds picking up just two points so far after successive draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace. Manchester City, on the other hand, have once again raced off the blocks, with new signing Erling Haaland already bagging two goals for his new team.

Manchester United versus Liverpool is often seen as the biggest fixture in the history of English football and the two old foes are set to lock horns at Old Trafford on Monday. While they've endured contrasting fortunes in the past few seasons - with Liverpool beating the record English champions 9-0 on aggregate over the last two Premier League fixtures - both sides have begun the season in underwhelming fashion this time around.

Who will come out on top on Monday? Only time will tell.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

A lot of people have said Tottenham Hotspur will be a different team this season, but I believe they still have a long way to go. They were lucky against Chelsea as Harry Kane's late equalizer meant the result papered over the cracks as they were outplayed for large parts of the game.

That said, I still think they'll beat Wolves, but it won't be a straightforward result based on what I saw from Spurs last weekend. With Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski, they've got enough individual brilliance up front to unlock Wolves' backline, so I'm going for a 2-1 Tottenham win.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Wolves

Everton vs Nottingham Forest

Blackpool v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly
Blackpool v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly

Everton lost to Aston Villa last weekend in the Premier League but they did much better when the shackles were off. Nottingham Forest, on the other hand, got a massive result against West Ham, but once again, you could say the result papered over the cracks as they got really lucky. West Ham hit the post I don't know how many times, while one of their goal-bound efforts was heroically cleared off the line.

Forest rode their luck at times but are up and running in the Premier League and will take a lot of encouragement from their result last weekend. Everton have to win this game as they haven't got any points thus far. Alarm bells could start ringing as early as late August if they start the season with no points from their first three games.

I expect another tough season for Everton, but something tells me they'll get all three points this weekend.

Prediction: Everton 2-1 Nottingham Forest

Leicester City vs Southampton

Hull City v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly
Hull City v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly

Leicester City are turning out to be a bit hard to predict this season. While they've scored four goals in their first two Premier League games, they've let in six goals, which is a massive problem that could get compounded if Wesley Fofana were to leave before the transfer deadline. If the Frenchman ends up going, it could be a long, long season for Brendan Rodgers and Co.

The likes of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison have also been linked with transfers, with Arsenal and Newcastle United reportedly interested in signing the two midfielders, respectively. Newcastle apparently bid £50 million for Maddison earlier this summer, with Leicester set to be demanding at least £60 million to part with the England international.

What's £10 million extra for an extra country, eh? I believe the Magpies could come back in with a late bid, while Arsenal are still in the running to sign Tielemans. I wouldn't want to make a prediction on Leicester City until the transfer window shuts, but for this game, I think they'll have enough firepower to prevail over Southampton at home.

Prediction: Leicester City 3-1 Southampton

Fulham vs Brentford

Leicester City v Brentford FC - Premier League
Leicester City v Brentford FC - Premier League

What a game this promises to be! A derby always means there's no love lost between the two teams, and judging by the way both teams have started the season, we could see a lot of goals in this one. Brentford are coming into this game on the back of a historic 4-0 win against Manchester United and with three points here, they could have nearly a quarter of the points they need to stay up!

Fulham, on the other hand, played really well against Liverpool to get a point but missed a glorious opportunity to beat Wolves last weekend. If they lose this one, it could kill their confidence, as two points from three games after playing so well isn't exactly a good return.

If I had to pick someone, I'd go for Brentford, but I think this one will end all square at Craven Cottage.

Prediction: Fulham 2-2 Brentford

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Aston Villa scored an early goal against Everton last weekend and added another late in the game to secure all three points. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, played on the counter attack against Liverpool at Anfield and got a well-deserved point.

However, this week, I think Palace will find it a bit harder because they will have to take the game to Aston Villa. Patrick Vieira's teams have shown that they can play some blistering football on the break, but stylistically, this will be a different game to what was the case against Liverpool last weekend.

I really like what Vieira has done since taking over the reigns at Selhurst Park. He's completely and utterly revamped the squad while also adopting a different brand of football.

It's a tough game to call, so I'm going for a 1-1 draw.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Aston Villa

Bournemouth vs Arsenal

Arsenal FC v Leicester City - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Leicester City - Premier League

Bournemouth started the season with three points against Aston Villa but were blown away by Manchester City last weekend. Arsenal have been one of the most impressive sides so far in the Premier League this season and have played brilliant football against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, so I expect them to go to the Vitality Stadium and make it three wins from three.

Mikel Arteta and Co. have conceded chances, but they have been incredibly lively up front and should capitalize on the opportunity to win their first five games before facing Liverpool and Tottenham.

Gabriel Martinelli is a very good footballer, I just hope the kid can stay fit and get a run of games under his belt. He's an unreal outlet and has got great pace and skill, while he has also shown that he can score this season. If he can stay injury free, I genuinely believe he's a superstar in the making!

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Arsenal

West Ham United vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Nottingham Forest v West Ham United - Premier League
Nottingham Forest v West Ham United - Premier League

West Ham punched above their weight last season but have started the 2022-23 Premier League campaign with two losses. Brighton beat Manchester United in their first game of the new campaign, but you never quite know what you're going to get from them!

If West Ham fail to get three points here, the nerves will start kicking in and suddenly, all the hype around their season will dissipate. That said, I can't separate these two teams at the moment, so I'm going for a draw.

Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Brighton

Leeds United vs Chelsea

Chelsea v Club América - Preseason Friendly
Chelsea v Club América - Preseason Friendly

Leeds United got three points on the opening weekend of the Premier League season but blew a two-goal lead against Southampton last time around. Chelsea were outstanding against Spurs and were unlucky to come out with just a point from the London derby, but goalscoring seems to be a bit of an issue for Thomas Tuchel at the moment.

Despite their dominance, Hugo Lloris made just one save last weekend from Kai Havertz in the first half. I still expect them to beat Leeds United because ultimately, their class will prevail. But when you look at the grand scheme of things, you can't help but wonder where their goals are going to come from.

Marc Cucurella was very good against Spurs. He passed the ball around nicely and didn't get caught out defensively. Last season, I fancied Chelsea to win the Premier League title but after injuries to Ben Chilwell and Reece James, they crumbled and couldn't recover in time to compete against Manchester City and Liverpool.

With Cesar Azpilicueta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek available as deputies to James and Cucurella set to fight it out with Chilwell for a spot on the left flank, Chelsea are well covered on that front this season.

Finally, refereeing in the London derby last weekend simply wasn't good enough. A million former Premier League footballers are not working at the moment - put them in the VAR office! I know referees are trained to do their jobs, but they haven't played the game and have been guilty of making several wrong decisions over the years. How can you let hair-pulling go because it isn't specifically condemned in the rule book? There isn't a rule that says you can't shoot someone on the football pitch, but that doesn't mean it's allowed?

Prediction: Leeds United 0-2 Chelsea

Newcastle United vs Manchester City

Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Newcastle have made a solid start to the Premier League season, but I don't see anything other than a Manchester City win. Eddie Howe will look to make it hard for the Cityzens with a plan to hit them on the counter attack, but Guardiola and Co. should still get all three points here to continue their perfect start to the new Premier League campaign.

Erling Haaland enjoyed a Premier League debut to remember with a brace against West Ham, but he had only eight touches of the ball against Bournemouth and completed a meager two passes. The Premier League is a different game, but I have no doubt in my mind that he'll score bundles of goals for Manchester City. When he has space to run into, his electric pace comes into play, while he's also an unbelievable finisher as we saw against West Ham.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester City

Manchester United vs Liverpool

Manchester United v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Crystal Palace

After Manchester United were humiliated by Brentford, I thought about their game against Liverpool and wondered how many they'd concede. Once I watched Liverpool against Palace, though, I immediately gave Manchester United a chance and I really mean that.

This is a massive opportunity for Erik ten Hag and his players to set things right. It's the biggest game of the Premier League season and no one expects them to win, but in my opinion, the result isn't as much of a foregone conclusion as it's made out to be. Manchester United players need to work their socks off and have each other's backs to have a chance of causing an upset. It feels a bit weird to even say, how has life changed for Manchester United that we're describing a potential home draw against Liverpool as an upset?!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Sadio Mane is a huge miss for Liverpool. Why sell him for £30 million when you could've kept him around for a year and once again fought on all fronts, like they did last Premier League season? With Roberto Firmino injured and Darwin Nunez suspended, they have no one to come off the bench and make an impact as a substitute. I have no clue who is going to play up front with Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah. Maybe young Fabio Carvalho will get thrown into the fray at Old Trafford?

Liverpool are already four points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race and the gap could be as high as seven points by Monday night. If that were to be the case, even the most loyal Liverpool fan would fancy Manchester City for the Premier League title this season. It's game over for them if they lose to Manchester United!

In the 2013-14 Premier League season, Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea in April is often viewed as the moment that cost Liverpool the title, but I beg to differ. I would point to the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion in February as one of the games that cost Brendan Rodgers and Co. that year, because those are the games you'd expect a title-chasing team to get maximum points from.

At the moment, Liverpool have a lot of problems and they don't seem to be good enough, I'm sorry. You aren't going to win the Premier League with Nat Phillips and James Milner starting games. I have loads of respect for Milner, but at this stage of his career, he should only play when Liverpool want to see off games, there's no way he should be starting games week in and week out!

As for Manchester United, if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't play, who will take his place? Who gets them the goals? Ronaldo said he'll give an interview in two weeks. It just shows that he probably thinks he isn't going to be here when the transfer window closes.

This is Manchester United's biggest game in ages. They've played in several European Cup finals and everything, but in the modern era, this is as big as it gets for them. Liverpool have been more successful in this fixture over the past few years, but this is the best time for Manchester United to face them. I might get absolutely ripped to shreds for my prediction, but I'm going to go for a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool

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Edited by Paul Merson