Liverpool vs Burnley | Saturday 21st August 2021, 12:30 | BT Sport
The weekend starts with Liverpool hosting Burnley but turn the clock back to January when the Clarets rolled into Merseyside and ended the Reds 68-match unbeaten league run at Anfield.
Now Sean Dyche’s men are searching for their first points of the season after falling to a 2-1 home defeat against Brighton last weekend. While Jurgen Klopp’s Reds got off to the perfect start with a comprehensive 3-0 win against newly-promoted Norwich.
And it’s no surprise that Liverpool are short-priced favourites to pick up three points, as they’ll be roared on by the Anfield faithful. Plus, Klopp’s side is the in-form Premier League team. They’ve got the longest current unbeaten run in the top-flight (11), having won their last six. Indeed, they’ve taken 29 points from their last 11 games (W9, D2).
That’s not what Burnley fans will want to read before the game, but their side have scored on their last five visits to Anfield. So Dyche’s side knows how to pose threats to this Liverpool backline, meaning it might not be quite as clear-cut as the bookies expect.
Despite their contrasting starts, these two sides have identical expected goals records, with 2.0xGF and 1.8xGA. So that could be something to note, although Burnley weren’t playing this calibre of opponent – no disrespect to Brighton, who I think will challenge the top-half this season.
The betting angles
The opening weekend seemed to be about goals and shots. Seven of the 10 games saw over 2.5 goals, while 16 of the 20 teams managed to hit double figures for shots.
Liverpool recorded 19 attempts at Norwich – only Arsenal had more. While Burnley had 14 despite falling to a 2-1 defeat.
I did eye up the shots market, especially trying to take advantage of a low Burnley line. Sky Bet priced 9+ shots for the visitors up at 5/6, which I could see. But that nagging doubt of a Sean Dyche side set up to defend did sway me against it.
To be fair, the Clarets had 10+ shots in 12 of their last 17 games of the season, including 10 at Spurs and Man Utd, 12 v s Leicester and 10 in their home defeat against today’s opponents, so it is doable.
While even with Virgil van Dijk back in the heart of their defence, Liverpool still allowed Norwich 14 efforts at their goal. And from the start of February until the end of last season, they allowed 9+ shots in 12 of 17 games, giving that 5/6 some scope.
However, I’m going to put up one play that needs a straight bat, something the England batsman can’t seem to do in the Test series v India.
Quite simply, Liverpool to win and Under 4 Goals at 20/21 with Bet365 looks solid. The Reds weren’t blowing sides away at the end of last season and looked comfortable against Norwich at the weekend.
Liverpool have a dearth of attacking options with the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, but this Burnley backline is known for being stubborn.
If you look at Liverpool’s results from the turn of the year against sides towards the lower reaches of the table, then you’ll see that they didn’t blow sides out of the water.
Some of those results saw them beat relegated sides, West Brom, 2-1 away and Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane. While they saw off Southampton 2-0 and Aston Villa 2-1. While finishing their campaign with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.
They did beat Burnley 3-0 at Turf Moor in their penultimate game of the season, but it was another tick for this bet. So, in the 11 league games they’ve won in 2021, this bet has won in eight.
Trying to search for alternatives led me towards the Burnley full-backs for tackles. Last weekend saw Norwich pair Max Aarons (RB) make 2/2 and Dimitris Giannoulis (LB) complete 3/4.
So, it’s worth considering Charlie Taylor, who should be kept busy. Last season saw him make five tackles v Man Utd, four v Man City, as well as three against Arsenal and Chelsea. He’s 11/8 for 3+ tackles with Sky Bet.
Matt Lowton is generally a reliable source for tackles, making him a favourite of mine. He completed three against Brighton for a solid start to this campaign and only James Tarkowski (66) made more than him last season – 54.
Those were on my shortlist, but I’ve found it hard to ignore the 7/2 with Paddy Power for a Mohamed Salah anytime assist. If you’ve got a power-up, it’ll take this to 4/1. This price is short of 6/4 elsewhere, so looks good in comparison to that quote.
The Egyptian racked up two assists last weekend, with three of his passes leading to a direct shot at the Canaries goal, proving how dangerous he is when finding space in behind or when he drifts out wide.
At Carrow Road, Salah was involved in nine of Liverpool’s 19 shots – five shots of his own and he created four chances, which was more than any other player on the opening weekend. It makes this 7/2 price look quite meaty and one worth getting stuck into.
Liverpool vs Burnley – Liverpool to win and Under 4 Goals (20/21 Bet365)
Liverpool vs Burnley – Mohamed Salah anytime assist (7/2 Paddy Power)