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Arsenal v Liverpool betting: Back the Reds to stay relevant in the top four fight


Arsenal v Liverpool betting: Back the Reds to stay relevant in the top four fight

After netting a hat-trick of tips last week Ste returns with his best bets for Arsenal v Liverpool.

AS befitting their status as reigning champions, and with a top four berth considered the norm under Jurgen Klopp, it is only right and proper that Liverpool continue to look up, not down. Despite their startling slump in performances and results since the tail-end of last year a Champions League spot remains up for grabs and a decent sprint down the home straight might ultimately be enough to secure it. It matters greatly therefore that their run-in is fairly comfortable, certainly in comparison to their direct rivals. It matters greatly that damage limitation is still very much possible.

Yet, view their predicament from a different angle, and imagine a seventh league loss in nine at the Emirates this weekend and such optimism is revealed to be flimsy at best.

More dropped points on Saturday evening, accompanied by a highly likely win for Chelsea at home to West Brom, will leave Liverpool eight points adrift with eight games to play and that’s surely too steep a mountain to climb. What’s more, to really hammer home their circumstances, a defeat in the capital will have a team so recently indomitable just a single point ahead of their opponents.

That is not intended as a slight on Arsenal, truly it’s not. It’s just that at no stage of this season has Mikel Arteta’s side been perceived as serious contenders for the top four and in the last couple of months they have not even been a part of the conversation.

Instead, a separate narrative has persisted throughout, one that has excused them during sustained periods of poor form and undermined them for at least a couple of false dawns: that Arteta’s Arsenal are a team in transition.

The ‘transition narrative’ fully explains why the Spanish coach is a distant 33/1 to be the next top-flight manager to leave his club – odds that are twice as long as Klopp’s – even though the Gunners have lost 40% of their league games and have not been higher than ninth since October. They are in essence being left alone, to thrive or toil in the Premier League’s hinterland. Out of the reckoning. Out of the loop.

A further loss for Liverpool will mean that’s where they reside too, and there cannot be a more damning indictment of the Reds’ decline than that. Just a short while back they were the talk of English football. Now they’re in danger of no longer being part of the conversation.

To reiterate though, a victory, to extend on their recent triumph at Wolves, keeps Liverpool firmly in the frame and so it follows that the extremities from this one result makes it a must-win game for the visitors. It hardly helps then that just three days later they must face Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter final.

Liverpool’s imminent continental commitment has a huge bearing over this fixture, because it has reasonably been suggested that winning the competition might be their most viable means of guaranteeing Champions League football next season. Add that lifting the trophy in Istanbul – now why does that sound familiar? – puts a thick coat of gloss on a disappointing campaign and it’s fair to deduce that Klopp will prioritise next week ahead of Arsenal as regards to his team selection.

This leads us to believe that Diogo Jota will be benched in favour of Roberto Firmino, who returns after a knee injury and there is a significant upside to this despite the Brazilian struggling for goals this term. Against the Gunners, Firmino has previously been prolific, scoring eight in 12 in the fixture.

More so, the familiar trio of Firmino, Salah and Mane should strike fear into the Arsenal back-line, having collectively scored 19 in prior encounters.

The deep-lying forward is 27/10 to score anytime at the Emirates.

Another reason to back the away side is more intangible but no less pertinent and that is Liverpool’s tendency to return sharp and business-like from international breaks. The last occasion they were beaten straight after a brief hiatus was all the way back in September 2017 and this contrasts with Arsenal who too often in recent times have been caught on the hop. The last time they resumed league action with a win was two years ago and there have been some shocking displays in the meantime.

Then there’s Arsenal’s inability to keep a clean sheet. Granted, the Gunners are unbeaten in four while their three-goal comeback at West Ham showed there is a sizable amount of resilience in the camp these days but still, from September to late January, Rob Holding and co kept eight shut-outs, a league high on one point. They haven’t managed one since.

That’s anything but not ideal for a side that has a propensity to concede first, as they’ve done on 14 occasions. And it becomes a real problem for a team who have only scored four times from seventy minutes on.

Back the Reds at 17/10 to lead at the break.

When widening our lens to view the fixture itself it may be tempting to plump for a goal-fest, what with six from the last 18 clashes offering up six-plus goals. Included in this number are several classics, not least a 5-5 in October 2019, and if your instincts tell you another is due then the 9/1 available for over 5.5 total goals is a decent shout.

However, Liverpool have noticeably tightened things up to minimise their crisis in recent weeks and this is illustrated by three 1-0s on the bounce, one in their favour, two against.

A 2-1 away win therefore represents the best value from every correct score option with the reigning champions subsequently heading up the M1 immensely pleased to still be relevant in the top four fight.  Arsenal meanwhile will continue to dwell in the shadows.

 

 

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