The visit of Hull to Anfield last weekend was supposed to be a stern test of any burgeoning title ambitions that Liverpool may have. It is the sort of game we have slipped up on in the past and many fans, myself included, worried that Hull’s ability to defend deep would cause us problems. Regular readers of my work will know that I have a saying for such a time as this: Football makes fools of us all. It certainly did this time around, as the Reds smashed five passed the Tigers in a nice, easy runout. Swansea are another one of those teams that we should beat easily enough, but football is rarely that straight forward.
When we came so agonisingly close to winning the title back in 2013-2014 two of the points we so desperately craved at the end of the season had been dropped at The Liberty Stadium. For some talk of a title at this stage is a little too premature, yet there can be no question that Liverpool could challenge at the top of the table if we carry on with the same level of performance we’ve managed so far. Swansea will ask different questions of Jürgen Klopp’s men, so what bets should you be thinking of placing? I’ve had a look at the things you should take into account before popping into the bookies.
The only major team news that Jürgen Klopp revealed in his pre-match press conference yesterday was that Divock Origi will miss the game with a foot injury. Nothing major to worry about with that, though, given that he was almost certainly not going to start. The big question Klopp has to answer is who will start in South Wales. Should he go with an unchanged team from the mauling of the Tigers, or should he mix things up in order to keep opposition teams guessing whilst also rewarding players for doing well in training?
We know from comments he made earlier in the week that Loris Karius will be keeping his place. Speaking after the Hull game the manager said, “He can play against Swansea again, I already spoke to the goalkeepers, they know it. We had a game at Derby, what can I do? He did not have 500 balls, just two or three balls. Against Hull, I’m not sure, not too many balls. Of course, to understand how a player reacts in situations you need the games”. Dejan Lovren has recovered from the virus that kept him out of the game at the weekend, but does Ragnar Klavan deserve to be dropped?
Then there’s the Daniel Sturridge question. The England forward didn’t start at Anfield but came off the bench and looked lively. He won a penalty and also freed up Roberto Firmino, so Klopp may consider starting him if he can figure out who he would replace. With Coutinho and Firmino jetting off to play for Brazil in the international break the German may want Sturridge to get some game time in case he needs to start against United on the 17th of October. Gun to head, my XI would be: Karius – Clyne – Lovren – Matip – Milner – Henderson – Lallana – Wijnaldum – Mané – Coutinho – Firmino.
Francesco Guidolin said earlier this week that he thinks he’ll be out of a job if the Swans lose to Liverpool. It’s in that sort of pressure environment that he’s having to choose his team for the visit of the Reds and most punters won’t be holding out hope that he’ll still in charge of Swansea after the international break. There aren’t a huge amount of surprises in his squad selection, though he’ll be keeping an eye on Federico Fernandez who was forced to miss the game against Manchester City last weekend with a groin injury.
Nathan Dyer will be absent once again as he’s got an ankle injury, but other than that things look fairly standard as far as the Swansea team is concerned. Borja Baston, who was signed from Atlético Madrid for a club record £15.5 million in the summer, is almost certainly going to be on the bench once more, meaning he’ll have to wait to get his first Premier League start since his big money move. My predicted XI: Fabianski – Rangel – Fernandez – Amat – Naughton – Britton – Cork – Sigurdsson – Fer – Routledge – Llorente.
Liverpool’s form was good heading into the match against Hull and looks even better now. The Reds have only lost one of their opening eight games in all competitions, scoring 24 goals in the process; that’s our highest tally for over 120 years. Away games haven’t posed a problem so far, with Chelsea and Arsenal both dispatched with relative ease and Spurs lucky to earn a home draw against Klopp’s men. The loss to Burnley seems to be an outlier but this game will tell us more on that front.
There’s a reason that Guidolin feels as though he’s under pressure at The Liberty. The Swans are outside of the relegation zone by virtue of a single point and have only won one match out of their opening six. They’ve drawn one and lost the other four, conceding ten goals along the way. They impressed against Chelsea when they earned themselves a draw just before the last international break, even if they did need to ride their luck at times. They went in at 1-1 at half-time against City too, though the Citizens ultimately proved too strong for them. We lost to them in May however, ending a run of six straight wins for us against them, so they might be quietly confident of pulling off an upset.
So what should you be thinking of placing a bet on, then? I’ve had a little look at the bookies’ odds on a number of different things and this is what I’ve come up with:
Goals, Goals And More Goals
Liverpool have scored eighteen goals in their last seven league games against Swansea, though only four of them have come away from Anfield. We’ve scored more gals than anyone else in the Premier League since Klopp took over, mind, and no team has scored more away goals than us in 2016. I’m confident that we’ve got a number of goals in our locker and I fancy Swansea to get on the scoresheet too.
What is the best way to take advantage if it is going to be a high-scoring game? Obviously the longest odds come on a correct score bet, but the reason the odds are high is that they’re something of a lottery. If you’re interested, a repeat of the Hull score of 5-1 comes in at around 40/1. Meanwhile Liverpool To Win And Both Teams To Score is 9/5 and that is something I’d be loath to turn down, even if they aren’t amazing odds.
Another interesting bet that you might want to have a look at is for Liverpool To Score 3.5 Goals, which is 10/3. Last week I recommended you have a punt on Liverpool to win with a -2 handicap. If you followed that advice then you’d have picked up a pleasant profit. If you want to be brave then The Reds are 18/1 To Win With A Handicap Of -4. That’s definitely a long-shot, but if you’re as convinced as I am that the Reds are going to put the final nail in the coffin of Guidolin then it might be one worth taking.
Who Will Score The Goals?
If there are going to be lots of goals – and my prediction that there will be is tantamount to a guarantee of a 0-0 draw – then there will obviously be goal scorers. But who will get them? I’ve said for a couple of weeks in a row now that Joel Matip will get his name on the scoresheet sooner rather than later and he came very close to doing so against Hull at Anfield. Matip is around 8/1 to be an Anytime Goalscorer at the Liberty and that might be worth a couple of quid. Similarly Gini Wijnaldum needs to get the goalscoring monkey off his back soon before it becomes a mental block, with the 5/1 available for him to Score Anytime tempting me.
Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson can be very dangerous from a set-piece and if Swansea are to get on the scoreboard you fancy he’ll be the reason why. He’s 3/1 to be an Anytime Scorer or 11/1 To Score First. Fernando Llorente has hardly set the world alight since his move to South Wales but he’s scored 194 goals in 494 games in his career, which is about a goal every 2.5 games. Llorente is 9/1 to be FGS at The Liberty. He scored against City last weekend so don’t put it past him. Fer & Sigurdsson have been scoring the goals but the Spaniard will be keen to keep going now he’s off the mark for the Swans.
This week I’m giving you one short odds bet and one longer odds bet to concentrate on. Firstly I’m plumping for Liverpool To Win And BTTS @ 9/5. Not amazing odds but not the worst, either. I’ll also put some faith in our Cameroonian centre-back and say the 8/1 for Matip to Score Anytime is something you should have a look at.