WILL DYER (@W2Dyer) delivered fabulous profit during Euro 2016. Here’s his take on a Super opening day Sunday contest from the Emirates.
Arsenal v Liverpool | Sunday 16.00 | Sky Sports 1
Liverpool have changed a lot this summer – both Anfield and the squad have been improved.
Jürgen Klopp failed to cherry-pick Mario Götze or Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the Bundesliga but he did get Joel Matip and Loris Karius, and closer to home the arrivals of Sadio Mane and Giorginio Wijnaldum have further strengthened the midfield.
I am not completely sold on the changes though. There’s no denying they are improvements but I think some areas have still been neglected.
It’s quite clear to me that Liverpool are missing a leader at the back. Matip has bags of experience at Schalke but he’s not known for his leadership qualities, that was always Benedikt Howedes responsibility.
Schalke are also not known for their defensive strength. Last season they leaked 49 goals in 34 games, only Moenchengladbach performed worse in the top-11. Is Matip a top, top defender then? I think that remains to be seen.
Arsenal’s transfer work, on the other hand, has been tame to say the least.
Sure the Gunners have brought four players in but only one is well known; Granit Xhaka, and even then his £30 million transfer fee looks a bit outrageous when you consider Alexis Sanchez was only £35 million.
Xhaka is only 23 and did have a stellar season at Gladbach but fragilities in his game were there for all to see at Euro 2016 and midfield is not Arsenal’s problem.
The Gunners’ issue, just like Liverpool, continues to be at the back.
I, like most, expect the top-eight to consist of Man City, West Ham, Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester, Spurs and Arsenal this season.
Arsenal’s defensive record against those seven rivals last season, I hear you ask? Twenty-three goals conceded in 14 games. That accounts for 63% of the goals they conceded all season but for just 38% of the games they played.
The North Londoners kept plenty of clean sheets last season but not against the sides that it mattered and in their last 34 meetings with Liverpool in the Premier League they’ve managed just six clean sheets and conceded a total of 50 goals to the Reds.
Two of the last four Premier League meetings between these two have seen both teams score in both halves and if you’d backed that bet in every Premier League game over the last three seasons you’d be in 85 points profit at average adds of 12/1.
For value sake, I’m backing it to happen again at 14/1 (SkyBet).
I don’t think Arsenal’s preparation in pre-season has been wise. Why play a friendly against Viking and win 8-0? It does not compare to Liverpool’s last game against Barcelona at Wembley, in which they ran out 3-0 winners.
Both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck look likely to miss out. Roberto Firmino is therefore expected to spearhead the attack in a dynamic, almost false-nine, formation.
The Brazilian got up a head of steam towards the back end of last season and eventually finished on 10 goals, making him Liverpool’s top scorer.
I think he could start where he left off last season. He bagged a brace in the reverse fixture at Anfield in January and is 14/5 with Marathonbet to score at anytime.
Per Mertesacker is expected to be on the sidelines with a knee injury until January and that means Rob Holding is likely to start in the centre of defence.
Laurent Koscielny is not fit after a month off since his Euro 2016 final appearance and therefore we should expect either Nacho Monreal or Calum Chambers to partner Holding in the centre of defence.
That is not a defence that I would like to face a Liverpool side full of confidence for their first full season under the enigmatic Klopp.
Liverpool have only won once in their last 13 away Premier League games against Arsenal but they have scored twice on three occasions and I think that’s where the value lies.
You can back the Reds to do so at 13/8 with BetBright.
Arsenal v Liverpool – Both Teams To Score In Both Halves (14/1 SkyBet)
Arsenal v Liverpool – Liverpool to score Over 1.5 Goals (13/8 BetBright)
Arsenal v Liverpool – Roberto Firmino to score anytime (14/5 Marathonbet)
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