Norwich vs Liverpool | Saturday 14th August 2021, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Norwich’s return to not only the Premier League but to a full Carrow Road is on our television screens this Saturday evening as they welcome big boys Liverpool. The Canaries have an incredibly harsh start to life on their return, facing Liverpool, Man City, Leicester, and Arsenal in their first four matches.
It’s probably the worst time to play Liverpool. Many of their star players have had five or six weeks off, their two best centre-halves are returning to full fitness, and the relentless Jurgen Klopp has even managed to have a break. Andy Robertson is their only absentee for the trip to East Anglia, with Klopp facing a selection headache in attack with Jota and Firmino battling for the striker spot.
If Virgil Van Dijk is to start alongside a recharged Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, then the Liverpool side looks too strong for the Canaries in every department. Sure, we all expect Liverpool to win this game. But at 2/7? Not for me. Adding Under 4.5 Goals to the mix gives us a 4/5 shot in the Bet365 Bet Builder.
Over the course of the last two seasons Liverpool have played 38 away matches and W24-D8-L6. In these 24 wins, Under 4.5 copped in 22/24. So, we would have seen a winning wager in 58% of Liverpool’s away games over the last two years.
Elsewhere, we’re predicting more cards to feature in the opening rounds of fixtures, with the fans returning. Both sides to collect a single card is 5/6 and looks chunky.
Andre Marriner has the whistle, and he is one of the league’s most lenient referees, but this is driving the odds towards a juicy price in my view. The West Midlander has delivered a card to each team in 80/131 (61%) Premier League games over the course of the last five seasons. Last season, he gave both teams a booking in 13/25 (52%) games.
Across the same five-season sample, he has overseen 18 Liverpool matches, flashing a card to the Reds and their opponents in 14/18 (78%) games. This incudes in all three games last season.
With an implied 54% winning probability, odds of 5/6 look to be about right. However, given the return of a full house at Carrow Road for the best part of 15 months, we could see an increase in card counts.
Across the EFL opening weekend, the Championship averaged 4.08 cards per game, with the five live televised games across the EFL seeing 5 cards per game.
With this broadcast on the first Saturday evening of the season, we could see no option but for Marriner to delve into his pocket. Liverpool were still carded in 25/38 games last term, despite them dominating a large amount of matches.
As for the hosts, they ranked 8th on the discipline table two season ago, picking up 68Y and 3R in their 38 tussles, an average of 1.86 per match. This bet landed on the last meeting between the sides.