Mark O’Haire’s Premier League Tips – Liverpool v Chelsea
Liverpool opted to rest and rotate their weary squad for the weekend but with a final Anfield appearance of 2015/16 to come against Chelsea on Wednesday, may look to field a first XI in the hope of signing off in style.
Liverpool v Chelsea, Wednesday 11 May 2016 (20.00), Sky Sports 2
The rapidly improving Reds have been firing on all cylinders in front of their home supporters and with a week’s rest before a Europa League final date with Sevilla, there’s time for Jurgen Klopp’s troops to prepare for their final shot at a Champions League qualifying position.
An excellent return of eight wins from 10 Anfield encounters, including five from their latest six, has propelled Liverpool towards the top-six, a run that’s tallied nicely with a sequence of seven Premier League victories from 11.
Although the Reds have thrown away a joint-league-high 14 points from leading positions at home, the hosts have showed a meaner streak in recent weeks…
scoring in each of their last 12 and notching at least twice in 10 of those fixtures, as well as in eight of their last nine matches at Anfield.
Visitors Chelsea have conceded 50+ goals in a Premier League season (51) for the first time since 1996/97 and make the journey to Merseyside without the suspended John Terry nor the injured Kurt Zouma, further weakening a troublesome defence.
In Terry’s absence this season, the Blues have seen their loss-rate rise from 18% when the skipper has started to 33% when the ex-England centre-back was absent. And the Londoners have hit upon a below-par run of three defeats in five to further hamper their prospects this midweek.
Guus Hiddink’s men have been beaten in three of their most recent five road trips – at Everton, Swansea and Sunderland – and managed just seven away successes in 18 now, form that’s completely curtailed any lingering hopes of rescuing a spot in Europe from a dreadful campaign.
It might well be worth delaying a punt on Liverpool until full team news is announced but the Reds do hold appeal at 21/20 quotes. However, being an end of season meeting, chucking Over 3.5 Goals into the equation for a 15/4 shot makes more sense.
Eight of the last nine league showdowns between these two have delivered winning BTTS bets whilst 14 of Chelsea’s last 20 away trips have seen three or more goals. In fact, five of the Blues’ most recent seven outings have seen the Over 3.5 Goals market passed with nine of 11 further back overcoming the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.
Chelsea have recorded a solitary shutout in 12 – against awful Aston Villa – so Liverpool should fancy their chances in front of goal. In the Reds last seven Anfield examinations they’ve scored 18 goals with four surpassing the Over 3.5 Goals line, as well as nine of their last 16 matches.
Also worthy of our interest should be Liverpool to score the first goal at 7/10.
The Merseysiders have gone 1-0 up in ten of their past 11 games in front of their fans, including eight in a row against Premier League opposition. In contrast, Chelsea have scored the opener in just three of their past nine games outside of Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool to win and Over 3.5 Goals (15/4)
Liverpool to score first (7/10)
*Prices correct at time of publication.