Football fans in England and Scotland are set for a thrilling weekend of derby games as four of the UK’s biggest clubs go head-to-head this month.
Manchester United face Liverpool on Saturday, March 10, with both sides desperate to maintain their challenge for a top four spot in the Premier League.
Rangers host Celtic in the Scottish Premiership the following day and they will be aiming to narrow the gap on their big rivals at the top of the table.
With Manchester City looking certainties to claim this season’s title in England, the race is on to secure the three remaining qualifying places for the Champions League.
United and Liverpool are strongly fancied at Matchbook to finish in the top four, but Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are also in the mix.
Both North West clubs have endured a barren few years in terms of trophies, although United manager Jose Mourinho certainly started to make amends by leading his side to the Europa League and EFL Cup double last season.
However, Mourinho is desperate to cement his legacy at Old Trafford by winning the Premier League or Champions League and a victory over the Reds would be another positive step along that road.
Jurgen Klopp has taken longer to get Liverpool moving in an upward direction, but there have been signs this season that the former Borussia Dortmund boss is assembling a squad capable of mounting serious challenges for silverware.
United are priced at 6/4 to win the game, with Liverpool on offer at 7/4. The draw is available at 12/5 and a point apiece would probably suit both managers.
The Old Firm clash at Ibrox on Sunday, March 11, promises to be one of the most fiercely fought in recent years, with Rangers finally beginning to look capable of challenging Celtic’s recent dominance of Scottish football.
Celtic head into the game six points clear of Rangers with a game in hand, but a victory for Graeme Murty’s side would boost their hopes of overhauling their big rivals.
The two sides have met twice this season, with Celtic winning 2-0 at Ibrox back in September and Rangers grabbing a 0-0 draw at Parkhead at the end of December.
The fixture has taken on even greater significance over the past couple of seasons, with the bitterness between the two sets of fans at an all-time high following Rangers’ enforced relegation to the fourth tier of Scottish football back in 2012.
Large numbers of Celtic supporters have refused to acknowledge their rivals’ previous history, referring to Rangers as Sevco, the name given to the Charles Green-headed consortium that bought the liquidated assets of the club with a £5.5 million loan.
UEFA’s subsequent confirmation that its rules allowed for the recognition of the “sporting continuity” of a club’s match record, even if that club’s corporate structure had changed, did little to appease Hoops fans and their mood hasn’t been helped by Rangers’ rise back up the leagues.
Celtic have certainly held the upper hand over their rivals during the past few years, winning seven and drawing two of their last 10 meetings in all competitions.
Rangers’ solitary success came back in April 2016 when they secured a penalty shoot-out victory in the Scottish Cup, but they could be a decent bet to pick up three points when they next meet Celtic at Ibrox.