Liverpool fans are in wonderland at the moment as their side is six points clear at the top of the Premier League. They face Arsenal and Manchester City in their next two matches though, so the picture may not be quite so positive in one week from now.
However, the bookmakers think Jürgen Klopp’s side should clear the first of these two tricky hurdles easily enough. BetHard have Liverpool at 1/2 to win, with the draw 7/2 and an Arsenal win 5/1.
The Reds’ form is so strong at Anfield it’s no wonder their price is short, even when playing another top club. Liverpool haven’t lost a league game on home turf since April 2017, winning 21 and drawing nine of the last 30 they’ve played there.
They’ve conceded just two goals in their last 14 league games at Anfield, so is there any hope for Arsenal? Unai Emery’s side aren’t short of away goals; ahead of this match Arsenal have averaged 2.33 goals per away match, the most in the division.
But the underlying statistics are not in their favour. The Gunners have been a very difficult team to predict on the road.
Across their nine away league games, there have been chances worth a total of approximately 12 goals at both ends of the pitch. However, Arsenal have scored 21 while conceding 16 – it makes it fun to watch, but hard to forecast.
The expected goal data predicts a 2-0 home win. You can back that at 8/1 with Karamba if you agree. While that score line passes the eye test as realistic, it does fly in the face of the recent form of matches between these teams.
Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool, these sides have met six times. Both teams have scored in five of those games, and there have been at least three goals in all but one of the matches too.
In fact, there has been two 3-3 draws and a 4-3 Liverpool win, making this comfortably the highest scoring big six clash over the last couple of years. It’s also Klopp’s highest scoring match-up in the Premier League (aside from with teams he’s only faced once), with 4.8 goals per game seen on average.
With Arsenal having the league’s leading scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, I think they’ll get on the score sheet here, even if Liverpool should prove ultimately too strong for them.
30 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 30 goals in 32 Premier League appearances for Arsenal (23 goals, 7 assists). Flames.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2018
A ‘yes’ bet in the both teams to score market is available at 2/3 with SportNation. The same firm offer 10/19 that there is over 2.5 goals in total, which looks the bet to take, but I wouldn’t rule out their 13/10 odds for over 3.5 goals either.
Looking at the table for the first half of matches, it looks sensible to back Liverpool to be winning at half time and full time, at 11/10 with Mansion Bet.
The Reds have been in front at the break in 12 of their 19 league matches this season – the joint-second most in the division – whereas Arsenal have only lead once.
The Gunners may have the best second half record in the Premier League, but Liverpool are second best and won’t allow Emery’s side back into the game as easily as many teams have.
For goalscorers, it’s impossible to look past Mohamed Salah, even in light of his skinny odds. The former Roma man has 36 goals in 40 appearances at Anfield, and he scored home and away against Arsenal last season. His odds to score are just 7/10 with 888 Sport.
They also offer 14/5 that Salah opens the scoring. His record certainly suggests he will, as he has already scored the first goal in eight Premier League matches this season, which is at least three more than any other player.
For better value, it’s worth considering Roberto Firmino. Remarkably, the Brazilian hasn’t scored a league goal at Anfield since April. He’s netted in the Champions League and scored league goals on the road, but he’s certainly due one on home turf.
Arsenal are his joint-favourite opponent for goals too, so if you think he’ll get one here, take RedBet’s 7/5 for Firmino to score.
Arsenal’s main threat will clearly come from Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang. He only scored five away goals in the Bundesliga and Premier League in 2017/18, but already has six this term.
He’s also the joint-top scorer of last goals in the division, so a bet on that at 13/2 with Coral is definitely worth a second thought. It’s Liverpool who should emerge triumphant though, and they will then head to the Etihad brimming with confidence.
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