Ed Chamberlin: Balotelli's back
Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin looks ahead to Mario Balotelli's first appearance for Liverpool in the Super Sunday clash with Tottenham.
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Ominous. That was the buzzword on Monday Night Football after Manchester City had beaten Liverpool.
The Premier League champions made a statement of intent by readily brushing aside last season's runners-up. It was ominous because of the ease with which City went through the gears, especially in the second half, but mainly because of the power they still have in reserve.
Sergio Aguero was introduced from the bench. The likes of Alvaro Negredo, Bacary Sagna, Fernandinho plus £32million signing Eliaquim Mangala can all still come in.
The good news for followers of this column was Stevan Jovetic, our 8/1 bet to finish the season as Manchester City's top goalscorer, continued his good form with the first two goals.
The fact is though that if Sergio Aguero stays fit we have absolutely no chance of collecting. What a striker he is. I sense that if I asked Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville of all the Premier League strikers who they would least like to mark, Aguero would be top of both their lists.
"As we highlighted on Monday Night Football, Aguero has the best minutes-per-goal ratio in Premier League history (from strikers who have scored 15 goals or more). He scores a Premier League goal every 113 minutes he is on the field, which is sensational."
Chamberlin on Aguero
It took him all of 23 seconds to score on Monday night.
City were easy winners in the end but for half an hour Liverpool fans had plenty to be encouraged by. They were the better side with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge showing their class. The problems they had were at the back and they face another big test in our first game on Super Sunday at Tottenham.
I can't wait for this. This is a game with so many ingredients. What has been Mauricio Pochettino's effect on Spurs? Can Liverpool bounce back after that defeat to the champions? Can the home side get revenge after the 5-0 humiliation at White Hart Lane in December?
This is a chance to see Eric Dier, Erik Lamela, Lazar Markovic and others that have got plenty of fans excited. Plus Mario is back!
You can't read too much in to Tottenham's win against QPR but one thing for sure is that Pochettino has been quick to implement his philosophy at White Hart Lane.
All the traits from his time at Southampton were evident in a performance full of energy. We will learn a lot more on Sunday and t will be particularly interesting to see Lamela, who Pochettino seems to have invigorated this season.
There’s no doubt though that the main attraction is Mario Balotelli. Love him or hate him, Balotelli is box office.
I thought Brendan Rodgers' answer to my question at the start of Monday Night Football was brilliant. I asked what Balotelli would add to the Liverpool squad. His answer: "trouble”. That took the heat out of the situation immediately.
"Balotelli is in last chance saloon at a big club and Liverpool need his power and goals. Being the showman he is there must be every chance Mario will mark his debut with a goal and Sky Bet have him at 6/4 to do so."
Chamberlin on Balotelli
Last season Liverpool completed a Premier League double over Tottenham by a 9-0 aggregate scoreline – their first double over Spurs since the 2006-07 season.
The 5-0 win for Liverpool in December was Spurs’ heaviest Premier League home defeat in 16 years and the Reds’ biggest ever win at White Hart Lane.
I clearly remember the match stats on the show that day with Spurs not having a single shot on target. Andre Villas-Boas was sacked the following day. A win on Sunday would exact revenge and be a major statement for the new manager.
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Part two of Super Sunday is Leicester against Arsenal. Leicester have acquitted themselves the best of the promoted sides on their return to the Premier League.
They will have left Chelsea last weekend wondering what might have been. As always seems to be the case, Arsenal have plenty of questions to answer.
They showed real character at Everton but as the MNF boys explained, the Toffees blew it. They were brilliant for 80 minutes but seemed to run out of gas.
They are through to the Champions League group stage yet again but how Arsenal fans would love to see Arsene Wenger add numbers, strength and power in the four remaining days of the Transfer window.
It's going to be a hectic few days for many clubs, the brilliant Sky Sports New HQ team plus the Sky Bet trading team who somehow manage to price up all the potential deals, even during the chaos of Deadline Day. Even as a former odds compiler myself, I have no idea how they do it!
I see Morgan Schneiderlin is chalked up at 1/8 to join Spurs with a chance that Andros Townsend could go the other way.
It's going to be fascinating to see how it plays out between Tottenham and Southampton, just as it will be on the pitch between Tottenham and Liverpool on Super Sunday.
A brilliant and compelling few days are ahead for all football fans.