Chelsea have a tough game in the capital on Sunday but it seems the bookies are already running scared of Liverpool in this match with several bookmakers having to shorten the odds on Liverpool winning the game as early as Monday. It is certainly a game that Liverpool could do with winning, just one win from four league games leaves Liverpool in sixth but with just three points separating these two teams going into the match Liverpool could move above Chelsea with a win by a margin of three goals or more.
Liverpool have been the best backed team of the week to win on Sunday, at the time of writing the best odds that Liverpool can be backed at are 15/4 but by kick off time that price should be long gone. As a result of the support for Liverpool Chelsea are on the drift, they can be backed at 5/6 currently but nearer to kick off time we could see evens on the fourth placed team. The draw is trading at 11/4 at the moment and is pretty steady.
One reason why Liverpool have been so well backed could be Liverpool’s record at Stamford Bridge, they have won two of the last three league meetings at Chelsea’s home ground, both of those wins were by 1-0 scorelines. That suggests that 1-0 could be a good bet in the correct score market once again and at odds of 12/1 that bet is sure to take the fancy of many Liverpool fans. There is a good chance that Liverpool only need to keep a clean sheet to win this game as Chelsea look likely to concede, they have not kept a clean sheet at home all season and have conceded exactly one goal in four of their five home matches in the league. One outstanding bet based on recent meetings could be under 2.5 goals at odds of 20/21, if you had placed that bet on the last seven league games between these sides at Stamford Bridge you would have won each time.
Luis Suarez is on a slightly lean spell heading into this match, he has not scored in four league matches but he remains the club’s top league scorer with four goals and he is the favourite to score for Liverpool, the Uruguayan can be backed at odds of 15/2 to score first in this match and considering the fact that he has still looked sharp recently and is a much bigger price than usual he looks a pretty good bet. Andy Carroll is next best in the betting, Carroll is 19/2 to score first but better value may lie with Craig Bellamy at 10/1, the Welshman scored a great goal last week against Norway and also scored recently against Norwich.
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Liverpool was hoping to put newly promoted Norwich to the sword in their quest for at least a top 4 place. Liverpool who drew 1-1 with Manchester United last weekend would be hoping to get back to winning ways against Paul Lambert’s charges. Norwich have impressed so far this season with their style of play, they have played an attractive attacking style with tremendous displays without reward at Chelsea and more recently at Old Trafford. Norwich go into the match on the back of great win against Swansea last weekend and will give them great confidence.
Dalglish made two changes to the side that drew with Manchester United last week with Glen Johnson coming in for Kelly and Craig Bellamy replacing the suspended Lucas. A big night for Dirk Kuyt making his 250th appearance for Liverpool. Liverpool started with a very attacking line-up with Gerrard and Adam in the middle of midfield with Downing on the right and Bellamy on the left of midfield with Kuyt and Suarez up front. Andy Carroll had to be content with starting on the bench once again.
Liverpool attacked from the start and almost took the lead inside two minutes when Skrtel headed off the bar from an Adam corner, then two minutes later Suarez made a brilliant turn before shooting wide.
Liverpool were dominating the early stages with Suarez and his brilliant best. Then in the 10th minute Bellamy made a great run down the left before crossing low to Suarez and his first time effort was tipped onto the post. Moments later Suarez tried a chip from outside the box but it floated over the bar.
The chances kept coming for Liverpool and another one went a begging when Suarez shot wide after being played in by Johnson. But Norwich showed the threat they had Morrison powered a header straight at Reina from a corner kick. Then moments later Norwich had another effort from long range saved by Reina.
Then on the half hour mark Kuyt had a header blocked from a corner. Liverpool continued to create chances as the half wore on, but just as it looked as Norwich would hold until half-time Liverpool took the lead after tussle for the ball involving Suarez broke to Bellamy who ran into the box before shooting past Ruddy via a deflection.
Norwich started the second half sharply and Pilkington was unlucky with a low shot bringing out a save from Reina. A minute later Kuyt couldn’t direct his header on target from a Downing cross as Liverpool responded.
A few minutes later a piece of brilliance on the edge of the box by Suarez left the Norwich defence bewildered but his shot was deflected onto the post as he cursed his luck. Liverpool was still threatening and Gerrard made one of his trademark runs into the box but he shot weakly.
But Norwich drew level on the hour mark when Adam lost possession looking for a foul and Pilkington’s dangerous was headed into the Liverpool by substitute Holt who beat Reina to the ball.
Shortly after Holt could have scored a second with another header but for a great reaction save from Reina. Norwich were certainly encouraged by the goal and Liverpool were struggling to find their first half fluency.
Dalglish brought on Henderson for Bellamy and Carroll for Downing in the latter stages to try and win the game but it wasn’t until stoppage time when the best chances came first a brilliant cross from Gerrard found the head of Carroll but his header went agonisingly wide from 6 yards out. Then with just about the last kick of the ball Suarez smashed a volley on target but Ruddy pulled off an amazing save to earn Norwich a point and leave Liverpool frustrated.
I was expecting nothing less than a win here tonight as I feel we have to win these type of games if we are to challenge this season. I liked the look of the team Kenny selected as it had a very attacking look about it. We started on fire and could have been four up inside 20 minutes but couldn’t get one. I just had a bit of a feeling these missed chances could come back to haunt us and unfortunately it did. We had some great attacking play, especially from Downing and Bellamy on the flanks and Suarez was causing all sorts of problems, the only thing lacking from him was he couldn’t find the net. The referee didn’t give Suarez much as I felt he was constantly fouled, leaving the striker frustrated. We did lose a bad goal as Norwich posed more of a threat second half, with Reina getting caught out. But these things can happen. We were very unlucky right at the end with Carroll and then Suarez’s volley. I’m left very disappointed with the result as both Chelsea and Manchester United have struggled against Norwich this season but managed to win, where we failed to. But I’m very encouraged with the performance and the amount of chances we created and I’m sure the goals will come over a very long season.
Man Of The Match – Suarez – once again, unplayable at time, lost count of the number of attempts he had on goal, only a goal was missing from his night.
Well derby day on Merseyside for the first time this season at Goodison Park with Kenny Dalglish leading his Liverpool team across Stanley Park for the first time in over 20 years, since that unforgettable 4-4 match which proved to be Kenny’s last match of his first spell as Liverpool manager. Such an important fixture for both sets of supporters with a lot more than bragging rights at stake. Liverpool came into the match on the back of a win at home to Wolves last week and were hoping to build some momentum with another win before the international break. Everton lost at Manchester City last week but proved how difficult they are to beat. A win for Liverpool would take them back up to 4th in the League before the 3pm kick-offs.
Dalglish made just the one change to the side which beat Wolves, with Dirk Kuyt coming in for Jordan Henderson. Kuyt who has great experience scoring winning goals in this fixture probably gave him the nod over Henderson. But Liverpool still had 5 players making their Merseyside Derby debuts. Kenny once again had Carragher and Skrtel in the centre of defence with Enrique on the left and Martin Kelly on the right side of defence. Charlie Adam once again partnered Lucas in the middle of midfield with Steven Gerrard once again starting on the bench as he eases back into full fitness. Downing would play down the left with Kuyt on the right of midfield.
As per usual the match started at a frenzied pace with Everton looking to pressure Liverpool high up the park. But it was Liverpool who had the first real chance, and it came when Kuyt crossed to Suarez but he could only head straight at Howard. Everton countered immediately and Reina had to make a very good fingertip save from a Cahill headed effort.
Distin and Saha both had chances but failed to hit the target as Everton were having the better of opening stages. But they were stunned in the 23rd minute when they were reduced to 10 men after Jack Rodwell went in with a strong challenge on Luis Suarez, which resulted in a controversial straight red card.
Liverpool started to threaten with the numerical advantage and Suarez went close with an angled effort hitting the side netting. Then Charlie Adam drilled a free-kick into the Everton defensive wall. A minute before half-time Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Jagielka upended Suarez in the box. Dirk Kuyt took the spot kick but Howard made a superb save low to his right. It was the first time Kuyt had missed a penalty since he moved to Liverpool. Then Adam saw a superb strike from the edge of the box smack off the underside of the crossbar with Howard beaten. Everton hung on to go in 0-0 at half-time with Liverpool left wondering how they were not in front.
The second half started with Liverpool applying the pressure and Everton looking to counter attack. Then 5 minutes into the second half a Charlie Adam corner was met by the head of Carroll but his effort was cleared off the line by Saha. A similar chance shortly after resulted in Howard smothering on the line.
Enrique then took a quick free-kick sending Kuyt behind the static Everton defence but he failed to connect properly. With 25 minutes remaining Dalglish made a double change with Gerrard and Bellamy coming on for Adam and Downing.
Then in the 71st minute Liverpool took the lead when Bellamy released Enrique down the left who then cut the ball back for Andy Carroll who slammed the ball into the Everton net for his first League goal of the season and the away supporters wild with delight.
A second goal soon followed after Distin and Baines got into trouble in their own penalty box presenting Suarez with a great chance yards from goal, and the striker made no mistake with a crisp finish and ending the match as a contest. So the Red half of Merseyside went home very happy after seeing off their Blue neighbours.
I thought Kenny got his team spot on and I was so pleased to see him bring Kuyt back into the team for Henderson. Everton started the better forcing us back in the early stages of the match. But the game certainly turned in our favour with the sending off. Never a red card, in fact I thought it was a great tackle by Rodwell. But many times this season we have been unlucky with refereeing decisions, so it was great to see us getting a decision in our favour for once. We started to dominate after the sending off and it was pleasing to see us stay patient and not panic after missing so many opportunities. The penalty was a stone waller and Kuyt was unlucky with his attempt, with Howard making a superb save. It was great to see Carroll scoring and you could see his confidence returning after the goal. Suarez was a constant threat and great to see him scoring the second goal. Lucas was superb in the middle of the park and Enrique had another impressive game at left back creating the first goal. I thought it was a professional performance from Liverpool where they didn’t let the sending off affect them and they remained patient and used the extra man to their advantage. Great result and sets us up nicely for our next match at home to Manchester United.
Man Of The Match – Suarez – was a constant threat, scored and was involved in most of main incidents in the match.