Sometimes, I think I am bit like Joey ‘Joseph’ Barton. No, I don’t go round beating up people outside city-centre McDonalds outlets or retweet Nietzsche quotes that I don’t understand in order to seem far more intelligent than I actually am.
I mean that there are occasions when I think the whole world has gone mad and I am the only sane one.
And no, I’m not talking about my love of Scott Walker’s later work; in this instance, I am banging on specifically about the prices that bwin have posted about Liverpool v Norwich City at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Now unless my eyes deceive me, bwin have priced up the match as follows: the draw at 9/2, a Norwich win at 21/2 and a Liverpool victory at 1/4. I have doubled checked, even triple checked, and I am still pretty certain that is what it says.
Am I missing something? Is something happening in a parallel dimension that I don’t know about? Have Liverpool just swapped half their team for Manchester United’s without me noticing?
Because how the hell are Liverpool 1/4 to beat a mid-table Premier League side, being a mid-table Premier League side themselves? Are people seriously backing Liverpool at that price? A team that can lose 3-1 at home to Aston Villa – ASTON VILLA! – at 1/4? ONE TO FOUR?
I understand that Liverpool are, to varying degrees, priced up on reputation, in that they used to be good ages ago when they had Graeme Souness and Ian Rush, but surely there a few giveaways that they are a little bit more rubbish than they once were.
One is that Souness and Rush are now greying, middle-aged men who don’t sport a moustache anymore (the sell-outs!) and the other is the league table, which shows the club in eighth position, 24 points behind the league leaders and scratching around with the mediocre likes of Stoke City and yes, Norwich.
While that is a poor show for Liverpool, the term mediocre isn’t meant to be disparaging towards Norwich, who will take mediocre season in, season out if it means they remain a top-flight club.
Under Chris Hughton’s astute management that seems likely and the fact that only five points separate these teams shows more than anything just how ridiculous the prices are.
And if Norwich were in any sort of form, I would be steaming into them in some way to avoid defeat at Anfield, because they are just too big at 21/2.
But I have a nagging feeling that the Canaries are in the middle of a dip in form that could yet last a few more weeks, so, against my better judgement on the prices on offer, I will be looking to find a way of making a home win of some value.
It is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, because most of the prices about Liverpool are abominable (Samed Yesil 11/10 to score at any time?), but there are reasons why I think the 8/5 that Liverpool win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 looks like the best bet.
The dismal Villa defeat aside, Liverpool have been sorting out their home form of late. Reading, Wigan Athletic, Southampton, Fulham and Sunderland have all been defeated at Anfield in Liverpool’s last seven home league games and none of those sides even managed a goal between them.
The calibre of that opposition is not great, but with six clean sheets in their last eight home games, Brendan Rodgers is (very) slowly improving the Reds’ horrendous record at home, albeit against sides they really ought to be seeing off.
Norwich fall into that category and with just 11 goals in 11 games on the road this season (and a solitary win, 4-3 at Swansea) this should go to type, as Liverpool are doing reasonably well at beating the sides below them.
It must be remembered, too, that Liverpool have spanked Norwich in their last two meetings (admittedly at Carrow Road) and the away defence will be scared stiff of a certain Uruguayan.
Luis Suarez, who admitted to diving in matches this week (apparently the Pope also confessed to being Catholic the other day) has Norwich’s number, scoring two consecutive hat-tricks against them, and he could be the difference again.
If Norwich get a result here at those prices I will spend the weekend kicking myself, but I think it may just prove beyond them and the 8/5 on a narrow Liverpool win to nil is my play.
Top bet: Liverpool to beat Norwich 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 @ 8/5