One of the unwritten rules of the Premier League, at least publically, is that when domestic matters resume after an international break we are rewarded with a clash between two of the big six. Sure, the majority of weekends will have such a match, but for it to after every break since November 2013 seems like more than a coincidence.
Anyway, whatever the reasons are, Premier League soccer resumes with Tottenham vs Liverpool at Wembley. The Reds were badly beaten 4-1 in this fixture last season, as Dejan Lovren suffered an awful afternoon. Will Liverpool’s rebuilt back line be made of sterner stuff this time around?
You’d have to think so, as aside from a horrendous error by Alisson at Leicester last time out, they have yet to concede a goal. But this is their hardest test of the season so far, and Spurs will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at Watford.
It’s surprising to see Liverpool are the favorites to win, as they only picked up one point from their five trips to face their rivals from the top six last season. Yet SugarHouse has them priced at +140, while Spurs are +180 and the draw +260.
Perhaps it’s down to Tottenham’s inconsistent form in the big matches? In the mini league of the big six from August 2016 onwards, only Manchester City have won more games than Spurs, and Mauricio Pochettino’s team have the best home record, but at the same time only Arsenal have lost more matches too.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have been the draw specialists among the group with nine stalemates, so it’s no wonder it’s a tough one to call. As draws have been slightly more common in big six clashes than in other Premier League matches over the past two years, I think this game will end in a tie.
Top soccer bookmakers expect both teams to get on the scoresheet, so will we be looking at a 1-1 draw? SugarHouse has ‘yes’ priced at -200 in the both teams to score market, compared to +155 for ‘no’, and a correct score bet on 1-1 is available at +600.
The form book perhaps suggests a lack of clean sheets in this game too. Both teams have scored in five of the last six meetings between these teams, including the two games in 2017/18. It also occurred in three of Spurs’ home games with the big six last season, and in three of Liverpool’s five away matches. The Reds defence have tightened up, but Tottenham have scored in their last 12 home league games against their main rivals, so bet ‘yes’ on both teams to score.
The available odds suggest there will be at least three goals, but the form book picture isn’t quite so clear here. Both meetings last season may have featured over 2.5 goals, but only one of the four prior to that did, and Liverpool imploded at Wembley last October while Spurs picked up a pair of penalties at Anfield in February. It’s probable neither of those unusual events occurs this time around.
Only four of Spurs’ 10 home matches with the big six since August 2016 have seen at least three goals – the joint fewest among the top teams – though it has happened in four of the most recent six. Liverpool’s last 10 league trips to the top six have seen a total of 36 goals, which is comfortably the most among the elite English sides, so I suggest betting on over 2.5 goals. It’s available with SugarHouse at -162.
For goal scorers, there’s two obvious candidates when these teams clash: Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. They are the top two scorers in league games among the big six since the start of last season, with five and seven goals respectively.
Salah bagged all three of their goals against Spurs in his debut campaign for the Reds, and if you fancy him to continue that sequence on Saturday he is priced at +140 with SugarHouse to get on the score sheet at any time, or +430 to get the opener.
As for Kane, he has directly contributed to seven goals in his seven league appearances against Liverpool, so is usually heavily involved. The England skipper is the +390 favorite to open the scoring with SugarHouse, or they have him at +123 to net at any point.
For longer odds, Christian Eriksen leads the ‘due a goal’ standings. He has taken 13 shots without scoring this season, which is the joint-most in the division alongside Christian Benteke. After bagging a brace for Denmark he should be confident, so SugarHouse's +375 for Eriksen to score is worth considering.