Manchester City and Liverpool played out an entertaining and lively 2-2 stalemate at Anfield back in August, Roberto Mancini’s men pegging back the Reds twice to earn a point but as the pair prepare to face-off again at the Etihad Stadium, bookies aren’t anticipating another inconclusive affair, Ladbrokes posting 11/4 against the draw.
Aided by home advantage, it’s the champions that are fancied to come out on top, BetVictor making them odds-on at 17/20 for the points and Stan James installing Brendan Rodgers’ side as 4/1 outsiders. That looks about right and indeed it’s difficult to see past the hosts but if you ignore the humbling at League One Oldham in the FA Cup, Liverpool’s form has been pretty solid of late so they can certainly ensure City have to work hard for the victory.
Subsequently, bet365’s 11/4 for the hosts to shade it by a one-goal margin is worth considering for punters seeking something more substantial than the odds-on quotes for a straightforward City success and as the Reds pose a significant attacking threat making it likely that both teams will score (8/13, Stan James), BetVictor’s 17/2 for Mancini’s troops to register a 2-1 triumph also appeals.
In attack meanwhile, after a brief injury lay-off Sergio Aguero forced his way back into the first eleven at QPR and as the Argentine attacker has struck in two of his last three starts, he’s the eye-catching first scorer flutter at 9/2 (Paddy Power).
Fulham and Manchester United met just last weekend in the FA Cup with Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges running out comfortable 4-1 winners and although it should be slightly closer when the duo meet again at Craven Cottage, United remain bankers at 8/13 with bet365. A more modest 2-0 success for the visitors can be backed at 19/2 courtesy of BetVictor and the league leaders are available at 11/8 in Skybet’s handicaps, when start a goal in arrears.
Both managers are under pressure as Newcastle and Chelsea square up at St James’ Park but it’s Blues boss Rafa Benitez that should be feeling a little more relaxed on Saturday night, his team warm-looking favourites to prevail at 5/6 via Coral. A maximum haul for the European champions could also see them extend their lead over fourth-placed Tottenham, who might have to settle for a point at West Brom, an outcome Stan James offer at 5/2.
Hoping to close the gap on Spurs are neighbours Arsenal and William Hill rate the Gunners at 4/9 to get the better of a Stoke outfit not in the best of form at the moment while Everton, also a 4/9 chance – this time with bet365, can maintain their interest in the race for European places by sending beleaguered strugglers Aston Villa home from Goodison Park empty-handed. The Gunners and Toffees double up at 23/20 (Coral).
At the bottom, BetVictor post even money against QPR boosting their survival hopes by seeing off Norwich, Reading are 6/4 courtesy of bet365 to ease their own relegation worries with a victory over Sunderland and Stan James quote 5/2 for Wigan and Southampton to be inseparable at the DW Stadium. A stalemate meanwhile, at 12/5 (Skybet), may also be on the cards at Upton Park, where West Ham entertain Swansea.
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