Liverpool host Southampton on Saturday afternoon, with the Reds looking to keep pace in the race for the title. Jake Pearson has previewed the match and picked out two bets.
1pt Under 2.5 Goals at 2/1 (bet365)
1pt Under 10.5 corners at 11/10 (Betway)
With Chelsea and Manchester City not playing until Sunday, Liverpool have a good opportunity to put pressure on their two main title rivals with a home fixture against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will go a point off league-leaders Chelsea with a win, while pulling two points clear of Pep Guardiola’s men, both of whom of course will have a game in hand.
The Reds have not been without their problems this season, particularly at the back, but they produced a statement performance last weekend as they swept aside an in-form Arsenal team 4-0, before making it five wins from five in the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Porto in midweek.
They are the league’s top scorers so far this season, netting 35 times, as well as creating more chances than any other side in the Premier League, averaging 2.74 expected goals for (xGF) per game.
They face a Southampton side who appeared to have gotten their act together, unbeaten in four Premier League matches prior to their defeat at Norwich last weekend, but that result was a huge disappointment for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men and leaves them five points above the drop zone with a tough run of fixtures incoming.
If there is one area Southampton do excel in though, it is in defence, with only four teams conceding fewer than the 14 goals the Saints have allowed this season, while through their last five matches, the Saints have conceded an average of just 0.70 expected goals against (xGA) per match.
As a result, Southampton games aren’t the most thrilling, with only games involving Wolves averaging fewer match goals than games involving Hasenhüttl’s side (2.08 per match), while through the last eight league matches, Saints games are posting a league low of 1.88.
Liverpool may negate this somewhat, their games boasting the highest average match goals, but there is a significant drop-off between games at Anfield, and games away from Anfield, and the lower return actually comes when the Reds are at home – averaging 3.17 goals per game at home compared to 4.50 on the road.
Southampton have only conceded more than two goals on two occasions this season, and one was in their opening game of the campaign – they could limit Liverpool to just the two here.
Only games involving Wolves and Brighton have seen UNDER 2.5 GOALS land on more occasions than games involving Southampton, and at a price of 2/1, that looks worth backing in this fixture, despite Liverpool’s goal scoring prowess.
Another interesting market, and one that has been of particular interest all season as far as Liverpool are concerned, is the corner market.
Early in the season the Reds were utterly dominant in the corner department, and they still rank as the second team in the league in terms of corners won, but there has been a hugely significant drop off in their corner output of late, and one that has gone unnoticed by the bookmakers.
Through their first six matches of the season, Liverpool averaged 10.5 corners per match, but over the last six they have averaged just 4.67, a stark contrast.
The reasons for this are clear: while at the beginning of the season Liverpool were peppering teams with a high quantity of shots, they now take fewer efforts, resulting in fewer corners.
Across their first six matches Liverpool unleashed a total of 141 attempts, while across their last six their total stands at 93. Their xG has also dropped from 3.11 per game to 2.36 in the same period.
This points to a clear transformation in the way Liverpool are approaching matches, and therefore gives reason to believe that the drop off in corners is as a result of this, rather than coincidence.
The markets haven’t reacted though, and corners in Liverpool matches are still being priced up on their early season exploits, clear by the fact that each of the last six matches has ended up going under the corner line set by the Asian market.
Again, the line has been set high, and a price of 11/10 about UNDER 10.5 CORNERS makes plenty of appeal.
Score prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Southampton (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Odds correct at 1210 GMT (25/11/21)
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