Merseyside's Money-Making Week 1 Premier League Picks

SBR Staff

Friday, July 25, 2014 5:29 AM GMT

Friday, Jul. 25, 2014 5:29 AM GMT

Liverpool fans must wish they could rewind back to April 26th, they’d still be odds-on for the Premier League and Luis Suarez would still be theirs. Alas, things have changed for all Merseyside clubs.

           
 

Liverpool vs. Southampton
The challenge to stay in the top four starts with a home game against Southampton, you get the sense if they were to lose that opener, fans would seriously fear their brief flirtation with the upper echelons was over.

Of course Brendan Rodgers has acted fast to spend the money generated by Suarez by snapping up Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and the Saints’ duo Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.

There’ll be many a punter backing one or both of them to score against their former club, who themselves are getting quite a lot of attention from those placing soccer picks looking for an outside relegation bet.

Southampton have plenty to live up to themselves with a huge name to guide them in their third straight season in the Premier League. Ronald Koeman has spent some of the money on Dusan Tadic from FC Twente and he’s kept faith with the man who scored 26 goals in 33 games for him at Feyenoord: Graziano Pelle.

Southampton were one of two teams to stop Liverpool scoring at Anfield last season and also beat them 3-1 the season before at St Mary’s. Liverpool have recorded two wins as well in their four matches.

Free Soccer Pick: I’m not keen on the single price for Liverpool to win, because I think we’ll see a defensive display from Southampton, but as part of a double or bigger, I’d happily back them, with a goal for Rickie Lambert too.

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Everton vs. Leicester City
Everton have new boys Leicester City on the first weekend of top flight games. The Toffees had a poor opening day record until beating Manchester United 1-0 in 2012/13, but only managed a 2-2 draw at Norwich for their curtain raiser last time out.

Leicester won 17 of 23 home games in their title winning Championship season, more or less averaging 2-1 (scoring 46 and conceding 22). I’ve been told by people close to the club that they will struggle, but I can see them doing enough to stay in the division. The manager Nigel Pearson is widely regarded as one of the best around and if he can balance keeping the squad happy and adding one or two new signings, they have a good formula. He has already signed Leonardo Ulloa and Matthew Upson from Brighton. I wouldn’t expect fireworks from the Foxes, but they’ll be a tough nut to crack.

If Pearson is regarded highly, Roberto Martinez is in another stratosphere. The media in England love the guy. He kept Wigan afloat, before finally taking them down (albeit winning a trophy too) and guided Everton to fifth place in the Premier League last season.

He and his team are another side with some pressure, I’d be amazed if they improved on fifth and may even slip a few places with Manchester United’s expected resurgence. So far the transfer kitty has remained shut. They have signed Gareth Barry on a free, which is great business, but those loanees who helped them so much last season are gone or going. Romalu Lukaku is the key man of course. It’s hard to see how he will stay on Merseyside with Juventus dangling Champions League shaped carrots in front of the Belgian.

Free Soccer Pick: Back to this game and with home advantage, a buoyant crowd and some doubts over Everton repeating their achievements last season, I’ll tip Leicester to keep it tight and get a draw. 

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