After Manchester City’s “unbelievable”
1-0 loss to Sunderland Liverpool have a chance to shake up the Premier League
The second biggest story of last
weekend’s games was City’s 1-0 defeat away to Sunderland thanks to a 93rd
minute winner, utterly against the run of play. City had 59% of possession, 11
shots on target and 14 off target (compared to Sunderland’s five and three) but
it was the Black Cats who took all three points and kept the title race as
close as close can be!
Liverpool halted a frustrating run of
draws at Anfield with a consummate display that was just what the doctor
ordered (and just what this handicapper
predicted) when they took Newcastle down 3-1 at Anfield the night before New Year’s Eve.
It was the sort of performance that rekindled talk Liverpool being title
contenders, although it was the results of the surrounding teams that spoke the
loudest; with Chelsea falling down 3-1 against Aston Villa, Tottenham only
managing a 1-1 draw against Swansea and Arsenal scraping past QPR 1-0.
Besides sitting in sixth place in the
table, Liverpool are now four points ahead of seventh place Newcastle (a
comfortable buffer), but more importantly they are tied on points with fifth
place Chelsea (who are just four goals better off) and two points behind fourth
place Arsenal (tied on a +9 goal difference). Liverpool are still outside bets
to win the league at 150/1 (as a comparison Arsenal are 40/1 and Spurs are
14/1) but they are now 9/4 to record a top four finish (and 1/16 on a top six
finish) and will fancy their chances against a City side who have failed to
score in their last two matches.
Liverpool’s away form reads five wins,
one draw and three losses, but they have scored 10 and conceded seven on their
travels. With points dropped (against the run of play) against Chelsea, West
Brom and Sunderland; City can ill afford to underestimate the Scousers,
especially if Steven Gerrard takes to the pitch. Captain Fantastic (who had
endured a torrid 2011 that saw him make just 15 appearances for Liverpool due
to injuries) made a cameo appearance against Newcastle and despite being on the
pitch for only 30 minutes had a huge influence on the game and rounded out his
run out with a goal and the man of the match award. With Gerrard in the side
Liverpool could beat anyone, and he’s likely to be hungry for game play after
so long on the sidelines. It’s also worth considering that Andy Carroll is a
hair breath away from going on a goal rampage (I’m still scratching my head at
the fact he failed to score against his old club on Friday) and Gerrard might
be the one to deliver the service he requires.
Don’t forget that Liverpool have only
lost once in the league in 14 games (an odd 1-0 against Fulham) and have only
failed to score in five of their 19 league games this season clocking up 24
goals and conceding just 15. It’s worth a bet on a Liverpool win at 7/2 in the soccer odds and at
Carroll to open the scoring at 9/1. I do feel that City will match whatever
Liverpool throw at them and they can’t have three nonsensical results on the
Mega City One
Despite their recent form, Manchester City are
still the team on top of the table and you don’t get to lead Manchester United
on the 1st of January by chance. The stats on Manchester City are impressive 14
wins from 19 games with 53 goals scored, but their home form is even more
intimidating. Out of nine home games they’ve not dropped a single point with
nine straight wins and 28 goals scored (with just four conceded). If you think
City are therefore due a home loss go ahead and back Liverpool (good luck if
you do) but back a low score. I consider that sort of form just too much for
Liverpool to deal with.
Surely City are due a win, and goals!
In the last five meetings between
these sides (dating back to November 2009) there have been three draws (0-0,
1-1 and 2-2) and two victories both by the same scoreline and both to the home
side. Liverpool won 3-0 in April this year and City won 3-0 in February 2010.
Another 3-0 home victory is at 14/1 while any draw is at 5/2. I don’t think
either is likely although a draw would please plenty of the sides in the top
six. It’s going to be close but I think City will win and Liverpool will get on
the scoresheet. You might want to have a bet on Liverpool leading at the break
and City winning the game at 25/1, or a draw at half time before a City win at
As an aside you might want to bet on a
fair few yellows and even a sending off in this match as both teams are
overflowing with “passion”, City will be frustrated up to their eyeballs, and
the last time that these teams met (a 1-1 draw at Anfield in late November)
there were five players book and City played the last ten minutes with ten men
after Mario “why Always Me” Balotelli was given his marching orders.
Prediction: City win 2-1 at 15/2.