The numbers say Pool to win 1-0 – but can Spurs come up with an upset?

The stats point towards a narrow victory for the home side at Anfield on Sunday...


My last two previews have featured Liverpool and Spurs respectively, and in both cases I suggested there was a strong chance of a 1-1 draw. Tottenham served up a lukewarm performance at Southampton and delivered the goods, whereas the Reds turned in one of their Groundhog Day performances against West Brom. Liverpool were so bad, not even VAR could save them. But what will happen this weekend?

The form book points towards a home win.

Since Mauricio Pochettino took charge at Spurs, they have won just once when travelling to one of the big six. Jürgen Klopp hasn’t been around as long at Anfield, but his side have only lost once in 14 matches at home against the Premier League’s big guns. The Reds are priced at evens to win on Sunday and prove the form book right.

The first goal of a game is always massive. The team that gets it goes on to win 69% of the time, fact fans. It certainly looks like Tottenham will need to score first if they are to get a result, as they have trampled that percentage into the dirt in 2017/18.

Spurs have won 14 of the 15 league matches where they have opened the scoring, and they haven’t won any of the nine matches where they have conceded first. But can Poch’s boys bag the first goal? Paddy’s got 6/5 if you think they can.

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Don’t get your hopes up though. Since August 2015, Liverpool have conceded the first goal in home matches the fewest times in the Premier League. When it comes to the big teams, Spurs have gone behind the most times on the road in the same period.

This info would suggest a bet on Liverpool to score first, at 4/6 is the way to go. I wouldn’t rule out a bet on Liverpool to score first and fail to win as well, though. That can be backed at 4/1, and as the Reds have drawn the most home games when scoring first in the top flight over the past three seasons they undoubtedly have form for doing so.

A glance at the data for when both teams score in a match would point towards this occurring too. Over the last four seasons, Liverpool and Spurs are in the top four Premier League teams when it comes to matches where both teams find the net.

The two sides have each seen this happen in at least half of their last 20 league games too, and Liverpool have seen it in 11 of their 17 matches with big six rivals since the start of last season. History both long and short is pointing towards it happening here. The odds available are 1/2, and you should keep this market in mind when you make your bets this weekend.

The odds are better on Spurs coming from behind to draw, though, and they have done that more times than any other team in the last three campaigns when away from home. You can get 11/2 on that outcome, and here’s a table illustrating why you should maybe stake a few quid here.

This exact scenario played out when this fixture took place in April 2016. Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead, before Kane equalised for the visitors. We can safely say the first part of that won’t happen this week, but how about a goal from the Premier League’s leading scorer?

Harry Kane had a bit of an off day against Manchester United on Wednesday, as he had eight shots but failed to score. In fact, he’s had at least that many attempts in seven league matches this season, and didn’t score in four of them. Kane won’t get as many chances at Anfield, but he’s still deservedly 4/1 to score the first goal, or 5/4 to get on the score sheet at some point.

He also has a reasonably good record against Liverpool, with four goals in six appearances. Two of those strikes came last time out when Dejan Lovren was so bad he had to be hauled off after half an hour.

That couldn’t possibly happen again, right?

Mohamed Salah is second in the race for the golden boot, and second in the betting here. Paddy will give you your money back as a free bet if Salah scores anytime, so let’s all hope he does. The odds for that to happen are 13/10, by the way.

The longer odds scorer tip this week is Dele Alli. Christian Eriksen was leading the ‘due a goal’ race, but he put that to bed before Mourinho had let go of the handbrake on Wednesday night. Alli has taken 13 shots, including two clear-cut chances, in his last four games without scoring.

He hasn’t been great this season, but a goal won’t be too far away. You can back him at 17/2 to open the scoring, or 3/1 to net at any point if you think the fields of Anfield Road will be where he next scores.

Whether Sadio Mané scores or not, he will be wary of the referee this week.

Jon Moss’ previous Liverpool match saw him send the Senegalese forward off for a high boot, which no other player has been shown a red card for since. This is why I always preferred him when he played drums for Culture Club.

Chances are there will be a few cards in this match too. Moss is slightly above average when it comes to dishing out bookings, and there have been 27 yellow cards in the last six meetings. That’s 4.5 per game, when these teams usually average 3.2 between them overall. The card market is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

The underlying stats this season suggest that Liverpool will win 1-0. That seems too low-scoring to me, but then the same stats correctly predicted Tottenham’s matches with Southampton and Manchester United. So who am I to argue with maths? Enjoy the match.

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