Premier League Update – Liverpool Starts Strong
Football fans are only six games into the 2019/20 Premier League season, but we’ve already had our fair share of drama, excitement and major talking points. From VAR to transfer embargos, we’ve seen it all in the first half dozen weeks but the important thing to remember is, there’s plenty more to come from this campaign.
Anything can and often does in the top-flight of English football. Our team review the season so far, looking at form, league standings and even the updated betting. Have bookmakers stuck to their pre-season stance of having Manchester City as hot favourites or are the money men starting to sway towards Liverpool? Which of the ante-post relegation favourites are living up to expectations and which are punching above their weight?
Let’s take a look at the updated betting markets which are all correct at the time of writing…
Top Goalscorer Betting
Sergio Aguero @ 10/3 with William Hill
Harry Kane @ 9/2 with Betfair
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang @ 6/1 with bet365
Mohamad Salah @ 5/1 with Betfair
Raheem Sterling @ 9/1 with bet365
Sadio Mane @ 10/1 with bet365
Next Manager to Leave Betting
Marco Silva @ 6/5 with Betfair
Nuno Espirito Santo @ 12/1 with William Hill
Steve Bruce @ 11/1 with William Hill
Roy Hodgson @ 14/1 with William Hill
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer @ 14/1 with William Hill
Mauricio Pochettino @ 14/1 with Betfair
Liverpool quickest off the mark
Liverpool finished last season as runners up, missing out by the narrowest of margins. Will they go one better this time? The Reds were 2018 runners up in the Champions League and built on that to win the same competition 12 months later, following defeat to Real Madrid with a win over Tottenham. There’s every reason to believe they will go very close to doing something similar in the Premier League this season. They have certainly made a strong enough start to their challenge.
Bookmakers had Liverpool as second-favourites back in pre-season, but the early betting told punters it would be a win for Man City, even more convincing than last term. That looked to be a bold call but it’s difficult for traders to go against The Cityzens or even ease their price too much. If, for example, they offered even money on Man City that price would be eaten up by followers of all clubs and could end up costing the industry a fortune. Bad news if you wanted to back Man City for three-in-a-row, good news if you prefer taking a shot at Liverpool going one better.
Liverpool has, indeed, been quickest off the mark this season and exploded to the top of the league thanks to a perfect five-game start. The Reds claimed 15 points for a possible 15 to open up a gap over Man City who faltered in the opening weeks. While Liverpool was raging to a run of five wins from five, Man City lost and drew in their first five. Did we see early cracks forming in their defence or were Liverpool just too good? We’ll find out in the weeks and months to come, that’s for sure.
Klopp and Co Open the Show
Klopp and co opened their challenge with the 4-1 hammering of newly promoted Norwich City at Anfield on Friday 9 August. That was the first match of the new season, kicking off the season on a Friday night, and those who followed the live action on Sky Sports got an early feel of what to expect from Liverpool. They then faced their first road trip and were made to work for the points but did get the desired result thanks to a 2-1 at St Mary’s Stadium, achieved against a rugged and determined Southampton side. The Saints won’t go close to winning the league this season, but they are a good enough team to have a say in who does, taking points off the major contenders.
Back at home and Liverpool handed out a 3-1 beating to an ambitious Arsenal, taking The Gunners down a peg or two in the process. Matip scored the opening goal that day and his celebrations were followed by a Salah double, the first coming from the penalty spot. The points were won that day before the hour mark, Torreira’s return on 85 minutes proving little more than a consolation goal. With the team now in a commanding position in the league, making rivals Man City pay for their mistakes, The Reds were able to show a bit of class away to Burnley on the final day of August. Travelling to Burnley, the high-flyers left with a 3-0 victory, enhancing their title claims.
Hard-fought Win Over Newcastle
The international break, making way for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, came at the wrong time for Liverpool but fans were delighted to see their club pick up where they left off. A mouth-watering home tie against Newcastle United at Anfield encouraged a full house but it was The Toon Army who claimed an early lead through Willems who bulged the net and silenced the home crowd on seven minutes. Liverpool re-grouped and bounced back thanks to an equaliser from Mane on 28. The same man scored again to give his employers a half-time lead and it was up to Salah to put the game to bed on 72. Done and dusted, although it wasn’t achieved without a degree of panic.
That victory ensured Liverpool become only the fourth team in Premier League history to win 14 consecutive league matches. Others on that list are Arsenal 2002, Man City 2019 and Man City 2017. Fans are excited about Liverpool’s chances this season, but it is worth remembering they won their first five games last season but failed to lift the trophy. Will this campaign deliver a similar fate? Sadio Mane was on the scoresheet against Newcastle and when he finds the net his team win at home, as the stats prove. Liverpool has never conceded defeat at Anfield when Mane has scored, winning 33 times and drawing twice.
Man City drops Points at Home to Spurs
Manchester City was utterly deserving of their second Premier League trophy on the bounce last season, but they haven’t been nearly as convincing in the early exchanges of this campaign. With six weekends in the books, their form stands at four wins, one draw and one defeat. They have notched up an incredible 24 goals, conceding just six. The champions started by delivering a thumping 5-0 defeat to West Ham United in east London as they flexed their muscles and sent out a warning shot to their main rivals. Three-in-a-row is no mean feat, but they are well equipped to do so.
The Cityzens dropped two points in just their second match when drawing at home with Tottenham. Not the worst match to draw but the players would’ve been disappointed at conceding twice at the Etihad. Game three brought a return to service as usual when bouncing back to record a 3-1 win over a decent Bournemouth away from home and the team recorded their first home win of the term when hammering Brighton 4-0, achieved thanks to goals from De Bruyne, Silva and an Aguero double. Fans believed their team had now eased into the season, but there was a shock in store.
An astonishing eight goals scored against Watford
Too much Pressure?
Favourites to beat Norwich City at Carrow Road on the return from a break in play for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, the pressure was on Man City to match or better Liverpool’s efforts against the same opponents on the opening weekend of the season. They didn’t do either. In fact, they lost to a determined home side who refused to roll over and play dead for their cash rich rivals. Goals from Mclean and Cantwell gave Norwich a stunning 2-0 lead inside 28 minutes. Aguero replied on 45 but a sucker-punch from Pukki early in the second half settled things. A late goal from Rodri made things interesting at the finish but The Canaries were good value for the points that day.
How would Manchester City respond to such a painful defeat against an opponent they really should be taking all three points from without fuss? In the kind of style we have come to expect from them, is the answer. Man City was back at the Etihad when hosting Watford on Saturday and they looked a crew utterly determined to show they have what it takes to fight on all fronts this season. The game finished Man City 8-0 Watford.
Bernardo Silva hit a hattrick that day and there were also goals for Silva, Aguero, Mahrez, Otamemdi and De Bruyne. A real team effort from everyone in the home dressing room and although all the headlines focussed on just how hopeless The Hornets were, the skill, speed and ruthlessness of the victors shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only did they win an important match at home against an opponent that had given them trouble in the past, but they also won 8-0 on the back of a defeat and that shops the character that exists amongst Pep Guardiola’s players and his staff.
Newcastle in trouble
Few expected Newcastle to be pushing for the European places when making their pre-season predictions back in the summer but The Toon Army have made a particularly disappointing start to their season. One win and two draws against three defeats have them stuck down in 17th place and they finished Saturday night just a point and a place above the relegation zone. A long and difficult season lies ahead for those loyal to the St James Park team, but they have shown us in recent seasons they are up for the fight against relegation.
They bounced back from that thrilling defeat at Anfield to earn a draw when hosting Brighton at the weekend, the match ending goalless. The match stats show they were lucky to get anything out of the afternoon, however, with Brighton finishing with 71% of the overall possession, Newcastle managing just four shots on target, failing to make any count. Manager Steve Bruce spoke to the press at full time and was, as ever, honest in his analysis. The gaffer said his boys found it difficult but did believe they responded to the half-time chat and performed better during the second 45.
One for Sorrow
Newcastle has now won only one of their last six matches at St James Park as it appears the players are struggling under the weight of expectations from the crowd. During that sticky spell, they have drawn two of the six matches and lost three times. It now means teams won’t be put off by visiting a venue that once worried them. Newcastle will take heart from the fact they kept a clean sheet, but Bruce’s boys must win the football in midfield and begin to apply more pressure, especially at home. The paying public won’t stand for it much longer, that’s for sure.
Matches of note still to come
There’s more to come as we move into October. Liverpool at home to the in-form Leicester should be tasty before The Reds go to Old Trafford and that one doesn’t need any advertising or promotion. Liverpool then welcomes Tottenham to town on 27 October. That’s another for your diary and the Sunday afternoon kick-off will enjoy the Sky Sports coverage.
Our team will return in October for another check on how the English Premier League is shaping up and the updated betting from major online bookmakers. Until then, enjoy the show and keep visiting the site for free sports betting tips and predictions.