It’s 5th against 3rd in the embryonic Premier League table as Liverpool (3/10) host surprise package Aston Villa (12/1) at Anfield on Saturday evening. Easyodds.com editor Simon Hopper has previewed the game and thinks while an away upset is unlikely, Paul Lambert’s side should at least contribute to an entertaining affair as they normally do on Merseyside…
Liverpool v Aston Villa (Saturday, 17:30, Sky Sports 1)
Simon Hopper’s Verdict: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 11/10 – BET NOW
In this fixture last year I successfully napped Aston Villa in the double chance market at 10/3 and while the in-form visitors are a similar price in that market again, they’re not worth chancing this time around.
Why? Because Liverpool are now better at home and Aston Villa are not as good away. Brendan Rodgers’ side have won 16 of their 20 home Premier League games since the start of last season which is very impressive by anyone’s standards, while Villa have lost 10 of their 20 road league fixtures in the same time (when they went to Merseyside last season they’d only lost three of their opening 10 road matches). I wouldn’t say the hosts are worthy 3/10 shots, but they’re not short enough to oppose (I have them pencilled in at 4/9).
But both teams to score at 11/10 looks value. Liverpool rarely keep clean sheets at Anfield with 14 of the last 20 visiting Premier League sides finding the net including eight of last year’s bottom 10. Admittedly they kept a clean sheet at Tottenham last time out but Spurs were poor in that game with their high defensive line constantly breached by the Reds’ pacy forwards. Villa will defend much deeper and play reactionary football which has often caused problems for Rodgers in the past. Daniel Sturridge is a doubt to play but even if he doesn’t make it they still have Mario Balotelli to step in while Raheem Sterling is the club’s top Premier League scorer this season anyway.
Paul Lambert has tightened up Villa’s rearguard with Alan Hutton and Philippe Senderos slotting in nicely but you would still expect them to concede at Anfield at some stage. However, they are always a threat away at the big clubs – the Midlanders scored at seven of last season’s top 10 and have scored five goals in their last two visits to Anfield. Andreas Wiemann notched in both of those games and the in-form Austrian could be an anytime scorer option here at a best price 6/1. Key Villa defender Ron Vlaar is also facing a battle to be fit and if the Dutchman is absent then it would only aid our selection.
Liverpool are often troubled by Villa at Anfield and both teams to score at 11/10 – which has happened in each of their last three meetings here – looks good.
Liverpool v Aston Villa Team News: Daniel Sturridge is the main news here with the striker rated a major doubt after picking up a thigh problem on England duty. Liverpool defenders Jon Flanagan, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson all missed the 3-0 win at Tottenham last time out – the former expects to be back in contention but the latter duo are both still doubtful. Aston Villa are hoping Jores Okore could finally make his seasonal debut while Paul Lambert is sweating on influential skipper Ron Vlaar who faces a fitness test. Strikers Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak are not in contention but are close to recovering from their long-term injuries.
Anytime Angle: Andreas Wiemann @ 6/1 – BET NOW. The Austrian has scored on his last two appearances at Anfield and has started the season well with two goals in three league outings. He clearly enjoys playing on the break and should cause problems again on Saturday.
Banker Bet: Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/7 – BET NOW. This is normally an absolute banker selection at Anfield with 15 of Liverpool’s last 17 home Premier League games going over 2.5 goals
Premier League Betting: Liverpool’s Premier League winner odds currently stand at a best price of 11/1 – slightly in from their pre-season 12/1 – after two wins from their opening three Premier League games, including a comprehensive 3-0 triumph at Tottenham last time out. Mario Balotelli could well make his home debut here and is currently available at 35/1 in the Premier League golden boot betting. Aston Villa have surprised many critics with seven points from their first three matches and are now 11/2 in the Premier League relegation betting market (they were 3/1 pre-season).
*Simon is editor of easyodds.com as well as being one of our resident football tipsters. He has an ROI of over 29% on his Premier League best bets since the start of last season (video available every Thursday) and napped Swansea to beat Man United at 10/1 on the opening weekend of the 2014/15. You can follow Simon on Twitter to keep up with his latest articles.
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