The thrilling victory over rivals Manchester City saw Liverpool become title favourites for the first time this season, bet365 pricing the Reds at 8/15 to be crowned champions earlier in the week, just after City’s Sunderland slip-up.
According to skipper Steven Gerrard “four cup finals” now stand between Brendan Rodgers’s charges and the Premier League trophy, with Sunday’s trip to Norwich the first of that quartet of critical encounters.
Inevitably, Liverpool are strong favourites at Carrow Road, where Ladbrokes chalk them up at 2/5 and it’s 8/1 with BetVictor for the relegation-threatened Canaries to stun the Reds by sending them home empty-handed.
At this stage of the campaign, a stalemate (4/1, Stan James) wouldn’t be the best result for Rodgers’s buoyant side but it’s an outcome that might attract one of two nervous Liverpool fans given that Neil Adams’s team are desperately trying to avoid the drop.
Bet365 post 5/1 against a score draw and it’s 10/1 at Winner.com to finish one each but the Reds have notched an impressive 18 times in four consecutive victories over Norwich and it’s hard to see the goal-shy hosts halting Liverpool’s momentum.
Skybet go 3/1 about an away win by a one-goal margin, for punters sensing that Rodgers’s men will be pushed hard by the battling Canaries and it’s 9/1 at BetVictor for the league leaders to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. In terms of goals meanwhile, Luis Suarez, who was at the centre of controversy at Anfield last weekend, is 3/1 (Paddy Power) to break the deadlock.
Chelsea should be able to stay in the title hunt, William Hill making them just 1/5 to see off a seemingly doomed Sunderland outfit and Stan James pricing the Blues at 4/5 to defeat the Black Cats ‘to nil’.
In the handicaps, Jose Mourinho’s side are 7/5 at bet365 when starting a couple of goals in arrears and BetVictor go 15/2 about the Stamford Bridge outfit warming up for their Champions League semi-final next week by triumphing 3-0.
Also hoping for a Liverpool slip-up are Manchester City, who tackle West Brom on Monday. Manuel Pellegrini’s team are 1/5 at best with Stan James to keep the pressure on at the Premier League summit and like Chelsea they appeal in bet365’s handicaps, this time at 13/10 with a two-goal disadvantage.
Arguably the most tempting flutter at Eastlands however, is BetVictor’s 14/5 for fit-again City front man Sergio Aguero to break the deadlock.
Sunday sees David Moyes head back to Goodison Park for the first time since leaving Everton for Manchester United and that will add a little extra spice to what is already a huge occasion.
Stan James chalk the Champions-League chasing Blues up at 7/5 to make it an unhappy return for their former boss and while bet365’s stalemate quote of 12/5 is set to prove popular, the Blues’ impressive home record – a midweek reverse notwithstanding – lends appeal to Ladbrokes’s 9/1 for the hosts to grab the only goal, as they did in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford.
In a warm-up for the FA Cup final, Arsenal are 4/5 (Winner.com) to boost their top four hopes by beating Hull and it’s 6/4 at Paddy Power for Cardiff to improve their survival chances at home to Stoke.
Elsewhere, Southampton appeal at 23/20 with Skybet to collect three points at faltering Aston Villa, West Ham (5/4, William Hill) get the nod at home to Crystal Palace and Stan James offer 12/5 about Newcastle and Swansea being inseparable on Tyneside.
Handicap double on Chelsea (-2) and Man City (-2) – 9/2 (bet365)
Liverpool to beat Norwich by one – 3/1 (Skybet)
Double on Southampton and West Ham – 4/1 (William Hill)
Newcastle and Swansea to draw – 12/5 (Stan James)