The biggest game of the weekend – and perhaps one of the biggest of the season in the context of the battle for the Champions League places – sees Liverpool travel to north London to play Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime. The sides drew 2-2 when they met at Anfield in December, since when both have produced some great football and picked up the points necessary to put them right in the mix for a top four finish.
Arsene Wenger’s men currently sit in third position in the table on 60 points, seven points behind leader Chelsea (who have a game in hand) and just one behind champions Man City. With City not playing until Monday, a win for the Gunners would move them up to second and given them just a faint hope that they might even challenge Chelsea for the title.
Liverpool are six points behind Arsenal and five behind fourth-placed Man United – who beat Brendan Rodgers’ men prior to the international break. It seems likely that failure to get at least a point from the match would put paid to Liverpool’s ambitions of making it into Europe’s elite club competition for a second year running. As such we can see them really going for it at the Emirates, and with Arsenal unlikely to sit back we anticipate an exciting, high-scoring match.
Liverpool will be without suspended captain Steven Gerrard, who was sent off within seconds of coming off the bench against Man United last time out, but the Reds’ cause has been boosted by the declaration of fitness of both Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge (the latter of whom missed the recent England matches with a hip injury which has miraculously disappeared!).
If you are considering a bet on the match, it’s worth taking a look at Betfair’s latest “Choose Your Refund Trigger” offer which will refund losing bets on the correct score, anytime correct score or first/last/anytime goalscorer markets if your chosen trigger occurs during the game. You just need to choose one of the following triggers: Mesut Ozil to score anytime; Liverpool to win and both teams to score; Arsenal to lead 1-0 at half time; Alexis Sanchez to score first; or Liverpool to be winning at half time, then if your bet loses and the trigger happens you’ll receive a refund of your stake as a free bet of up to £25.
Arsenal won the corresponding fixture last season by a 2-0 scoreline, but we think – with Sturridge and Sterling fit – the visitors should have enough to at least get on the scoresheet this time around. Picking Liverpool to be winning at half time might not be a bad option for your refund trigger as Rodgers is sure to send his men out with an attacking mentality as, realistically, they need the three points. If you back Arsenal to be winning 2-0 in the anytime correct score market at odds of around 21/10 then if they don’t get off to a positive start and Liverpool take the lead, there is a fair chance the visitors will be ahead at half time, thus triggering your refund.
All in all we expect an entertaining match but one in which the home side should ultimately prevail as they put just a little bit of pressure on Chelsea.