Two teams at opposite ends of the table,
but with comparatively sized problems go in search of an elusive victory when
(three consecutive defeats) Blackburn host (one point from their last 12)
Liverpool, on Tuesday night in the Premier League.
The second coming of “King” Kenny Dalglish
may have brought Liverpool a trophy, thanks to a penalty shootout in the
Carling Cup but at a time of press Liverpool are eighth in the Barclays Premier
League. They languish behind local rivals Everton by a point and are (a
humongous) 16 points adrift of “little” Newcastle. It's worth mentioning that
Liverpool will start Tuesday night's clash 34 points off the league
leaders (Manchester United), that will be why the Merseyside club are currently
284/1 to record a top four finish and 25/1 to record a top six finish (but
still 1/16 for a top ten spot).
Blackburn recently fought hard to claw
their way out of the relegation zone thanks to a decent run of form but have now
lost three games back-to-back. They can take heart from the fact that while
they’re in the relegation zone they are theoretically just a point away from
getting out of it as they share 28 points with both 19th place Wigan and 17th
place QPR; and are just a point worse off than 16th place Bolton who have a
worse goal difference.
Time for a coup de grace or a good
time to face the Reds?
In Liverpool’s last eight league games they
have garnered just four points, scoring nine goals and conceding 13. What’s
more Liverpool have only won at Ewood Park once in their last five games there,
but are still 10/11 to take all three points form the match while a victory for
Blackburn is an outside bet with the bookies at soccer odds of 14/5.
Looking at the head-to-head stats, Blackburn have only won one of their last five meetings with Liverpool but that
was a 3-1 home victory back in January 2011 and if you feel history
will repeat itself you can get odds of 28/1 on that score being replicated. There
have been two draws in the last five meetings between these two sides, including
one at Liverpool on Boxing Day earlier this season (but doesn't everyone expect
to catch a draw at Anfield these days)?
I fear that a draw this time round would be
very cold comfort to either side. Blackburn need three points desperately to
give them a chance of surviving the drop, while Liverpool would have to deal
with an eighth league game without victory (from their last nine) if they took
anything less than three points home with them. A draw is offered up at 12/5
and 1-1 has the shortest odds for a correct score bet at 11/2
Both sides will be at less than full
strength due to disciplinary punishments. Rovers will be without Anthony
Modeste following his red card against West Brom on Saturday, becoming the
fifth player to be sent off for Blackburn this season. A disciplinary record
only “bested” by QPR (with seven reds to their name). Liverpool will still be
missing their first choice goalkeeper Pepe Reina who received a red card for
his head-butt on Newcastle’s James Perch, in one of Liverpool’s recent defeats.
What could be considerably more telling for this clash is the fact that
Liverpool have an FA Cup semi-final against local rivals Everton to prepare for
and may be tempted to rest key players ahead of next Saturday’s match.
Things can only get better…
Despite Liverpool’s woes (since the turn of
the year they have won only two games in the league) they have won more games
away from home than they have at Anfield and have hit the woodwork 28 times in
the Premier League, nine more times than any other team this season
Blackburn are now 10/11 to be relegated and
Steve Kean (who is weathering the managerial storm with a resilience and
dignity uncommon in the modern game) is now 10/1 to be the next EPL manager to
leave his job, behind Harry Redknapp, Roberto Martinez, Alex McLeish and
bookies’ favourites King Kenny and Roberto (no cigar) Mancini (both at
4/1). The sportsbooks have the best soccer betting odds
on the half time / full time result at 2/1 for Liverpool taking both halves.
I’d avoid backing a Liverpool comeback as
the Scousers have won just one of the 13 Premier League games that they have
conceded the first goal in this season. If you're feeling brave (or foolish)
back Blackburn making hay from Liverpool’s problems and back Rovers to take
both halves at 9/2. Also Blackburn know that they can become masters of their
own destiny as the two teams directly below them, Wigan and Wolves host
Manchester United and Arsenal (respectively) on Tuesday while QPR (tied on
points, but with a superior goal difference to Rovers) host in-form Swansea on
Wednesday night. It’s not unthinkable, football being what it is, that
Blackburn could find themselves three points clear of the relegation zone after
these round of games, but I’m not betting on it.
Blackburn have lost ten home games this
season, conceding 29 goals along the way and they have only managed one win
and six points from the 20 matches in which they conceded the opening goal this
season, the joint worst record in the division. I expect Liverpool to be quick out of the blocks and take the game to
Rovers, getting an early advantage and a decent scoreline.
Soccer Picks: Liverpool win 3-1 at 14/1