Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday in a 8:15pm kick-off at Anfield.
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The Reds ended a run of four consecutive league defeats by beating Sheffield United 2-0 away from home on Sunday, but have plenty more to prove before their slump can considered to be over.
Chelsea, meanwhile, endured a dour 0-0 draw at Manchester United earlier in the day, but have undoubtedly improved since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January.
Liverpool are 6/5 favourites to win the match, with the draw 5/2 and a Chelsea win 11/5.
As usual with games involving the Big Six, I think the draw represents the best value in terms of the match result, but more on that later.
In terms of our main Bet Builder, I’m backing Under 5 Goals for Both Teams Combined.
Liverpool have failed to score in four of their last five league games at Anfield – including a 0-0 draw against Man Utd – with 11 of their last 12 league games falling below the aforementioned goal line.
Moreover, all nine of Tuchel’s games so far have seen under four goals scored at either end, with only one even seeing three goals scored!
Neither side will want to lose ground on each other in the race for a spot in the top four, so I expect to see a pretty cagey game. We’re allowing plenty of wriggle room by going under five in case the game is 2-1 at some point and the chasing side equalises or concedes late on.
I’ll also back both teams to receive a card each. This has landed in 12 of Craig Pawson’s last 14 matches, and in each of these two sides’ Big Six clashes this season, with two exceptions.
One of these was Liverpool v Tottenham, when Jose Mourinho’s side showed zero attacking ambition, and the other was the reverse fixture, when Andreas Christensen was sent off before half time and the game was virtually ended as a contest thereafter.
Lastly, I’m going to back each team to earn 3+ corners. Chelsea have done this in all seven league games under Tuchel and should enjoy more possession than usual against Liverpool given the Reds’ defensive issues, while Liverpool have only failed to hit this line three times all season:
Under 5 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Over 0 Cards for Liverpool, Over 0 Cards for Chelsea, Over 2 Corners for Liverpool, Over 2 Corners for Chelsea @ 21/20 (bet365).
If you’re looking for a bigger price, I like the look of Draw, Under 3 Goals and Over 2 Cards at 6/1. Pawson has shown 3+ cards in each of his last seven PL games.
In terms of player cards, Jorginho and Fabinho are likely to return to either side’s starting line-ups, with the pair making a nice price at 14/1 (bet365).
Plenty of central midfielders have been booked against Liverpool this season, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones likely to overload that area on Thursday.
Fabinho, meanwhile, could be tasked with keeping Timo Werner quiet in transition, and may find himself forced to take a tactical foul at some stage, which he is certainly never shy of doing.
For similar reasons I’m also keen on Thiago (3/1, bet365) and Ozan Kabak (14/5, Sky Bet), while Christensen appeals at 11/2 (bet365) having been sent off in the reverse fixture for fouling Mane, who played through the middle at Sheff Utd on Sunday and may do so again here.
Betfair’s shots on target look pretty good, too, with Jones, Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcos Alonso all odds-on to test their opposition goalkeeper.
Jones had three shots on target against Sheff Utd, scoring the opening goal having been deployed in a more attacking role, while Mount has received similar license from Tuchel and has had a shot on target in three of his last five league starts. Mount may also be on penalties, making the pair a nice 9/2 shot.
Alexander-Arnold and Alonso are two of the more attacking wing-backs in the division, meanwhile, with Trent having a SOT in both of his last two starts and Alonso having three in four league starts under Tuchel. The pair pays 11/1, with the quartet making a very interesting 60/1 longshot.
I’m always a fan of Sky Bet’s tackles market in big games, too, with Azpilicueta looking good value at evens to make 3+. He’ll likely have Mane in his vicinity and has hit this line in his last three starts.
I’m not sure N’Golo Kante will start, meanwhile, but if he does then he has to be backed having made seven in both of his last two league starts. He’s 20/1 to hit this again!
Thiago is always busy in midfield, too, averaging four tackles per game in his last six league starts. He’s 8/11 to hit three and 15/8 to hit four, while Kabak has hit 2+ in all three league starts and is 5/6 to do so again.
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