Liverpool threw away a three goal lead in midweek, but it’s nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years.
Perhaps when they sold their soul at half time in Istanbul, this was the cost? Their last such collapse came at Selhurst Park in the spring of 2014. That was hot on the heels of a home defeat to Chelsea, so can we expect a repeat of sorts
You’ll all remember Gerrard’s slip of course. You’ve probably sang about it at a football ground despite not supporting any of the teams involved.
Gary Lineker & Steven Gerrard part of new BT Sport team. Looking forward to seeing 'shat' and 'slip' mentioned in every tweet they get sent.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 9, 2015
So, will Liverpool bounce back from their Spanish meltdown? Or will Chelsea continue their free-scoring form from their game against the mighty Qarabag?
The *nerd alert* expected goal data from this season suggests you should bet hard on a Liverpool win. Paddy is offering 11/10 that the Reds come out on top, whereas the stats suggest in reality that Jürgen Klopp’s boys should be even stronger favourites.
Why? Because Chelsea are massively overachieving when compared to their underlying numbers. The Blues have a goal difference of 15 when the stats suggest it should be just three. Of course, with players of the quality of Alvaro Morata and Thibaut Courtois at each end then that’s a distinct possibility, but can it last forever?
As the Reds have only conceded once at home, and Chelsea’s small squad travelled to Azerbaijan and back this week, the 3/1 on offer that the Reds win to nil might be worth a few pennies.
The 21/10 for Liverpool to keep a clean sheet is definitely worth a look too. The Reds have conceded the fewest expected and actual goals at home in the Premier League this season.
The Blues may have scored the second most on the road, but their modest underlying attacking numbers away from Stamford Bridge have been bettered by the likes of Watford and Leicester. A Chelsea blank wouldn’t be a shock here.
Aside from marginal expected goal victories at Spurs, Chelsea under Antonio Conte have always been ‘beaten’ on their travels to fellow big six teams too. In reality, the Italian’s team have a good record in the big six mini league since he took over. Their problem on Saturday may be that Liverpool are the only team with a better one.
There’s clearly not much in it though, and the Blues’ recent record at Anfield is very good. After gifting Liverpool a courtesy win directly after their 2012 FA Cup final triumph over the Reds, Chelsea have won two and drawn four of the subsequent Merseyside meetings.
As much as I’ve talked up Klopp’s boys, Chelsea obviously aren’t without hope. Since the start of last season, they have the best away record at half time in the Premier League.
That doesn’t win you any points, but it makes the odds of 11/4 that the visitors will be ahead at the break quite enticing.
The last three meetings at Anfield have all been 1-1, and the odds are 6/1 for that sequence to continue. That mightn’t be the worst bet in the world, actually.
In terms of goals though, I would expect there to be more than that, which would ring the ‘over 2.5 goals’ bell, with it’s price of 8/11.
Liverpool’s league matches have had at least three goals on the joint-most occasions in the top flight this season, and that includes in three of their four big six tussles so far.
That hasn’t applied to Chelsea in the big games, but these two are still at the top end for games featuring over 2.5 goals since the start of 2016/17.
If you needed reminding which of Liverpool’s big six matches didn’t feature at least three goals this season, then this table will help.
“Ah, Jose, do come in… your usual parking space on the pitch today?”
But back to more pressing matters, and where we can invest our weekly punting money. It’s no surprise to see Mohamed Salah and Morata lead the market for first goal scorer, with both players priced at 9/2.
If you want to back either of those, then I’d suggest Salah. The Egyptian has scored at home in line with the quality of chances he has had, whereas Morata is way over and might be due to regress.
Do the odds for this season's PL top scorer do Mohamed Salah a disservice? pic.twitter.com/hB1eLU54NA
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) November 19, 2017
You can get odds of 16/5 that Salah scores at some point and Liverpool win, which looks pretty tasty. If you favour the Blues, Chelsea winning and Morata finding the back of the net is available at 9/2.
I always like to look for a longer odds option in the first scorer market, and a look at the nerdy numbers revealed something quite surprising: Joel Matip has amassed more expected goals than every Chelsea player bar Morata. As have Firmino, Sturridge and Mané, but that’s not so weird.
Matip is available at 55/1 to net first (or 19/1 to score at any point), and as Liverpool have underperformed their expected goals on corners whilst Chelsea haven’t conceded from one… well, stranger things have happened.
Stranger things than Liverpool scoring a penalty have happened too, and the final bet to consider this week is for a spot kick to be scored, which you can back at 7/2. Michael Oliver, who will umpire this bout, has given the most penalties in the Premier League since Conte took charge of Chelsea, and the Blues haven’t had one yet in 2017-18.
The Reds have missed their last three in all competitions, and the Blues their last two in the league.
A lovely dollop of reversion to the mean would see this one pay out nicely, and send us out into the night on Saturday with enough for a pint or two. That’s what I’m in it for anyway.
* All odds correct at time of posting.