Liverpool and Chelsea do battle again this evening just three days after meeting in the FA Cup final, although there is far less riding on this result than there was on Saturday’s clash.
Poor league form means the best Liverpool can hope for is a seventh-place finish, while they could end up as low as tenth.
But regardless of the results in their last two games of the campaign, Liverpool will miss out on their stated aim at the start of the season of finishing in a Champions League qualification position.
This leaves Reds boss Kenny Dalglish hoping that his side’s Carling Cup win is sufficient to appease his employers.
Chelsea, too, look set to fall short in their bid for a place in the top four, although they still have a mathematical chance of making it into the select band.
Liverpool wins at Anfield are a rare thing nowadays – in fact, it’s something they haven’t achieved in the league since a derby success over a weakened Everton on March 13th.
A win against Liverpool would move them three points behind third-placed Arsenal, meaning victory against Blackburn on the final day of the season could – goal difference depending – secure Chelsea a top four spot so long as at least two of Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle slip up to varying degrees.
Nevertheless, odds of 6/1 are indicative of Chelsea’s status as outsiders in the top four football betting market and it is likely manager Roberto di Matteo will be pinning his Champions League qualification hopes on beating Bayern in the final of this season’s competition.
With neither side having too much to play for, this evening’s match at Anfield therefore has an underwhelming feel to it, particularly in the context of some of the titanic struggles between the two clubs in recent seasons.
That said, Liverpool will want to give their fans cause for optimism in their final league match of the season and gain some revenge for their weekend cup defeat.
The question is, are they good enough to do so?
As 11/10 favourites to win this evening in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, they look well placed to pick up all three points.
But Liverpool wins at Anfield are a rare thing nowadays – in fact, it’s something they haven’t achieved in the league since a derby success over a weakened Everton on March 13th.
In the four home league games since then, Liverpool have lost to Wigan, West Brom and Fulham and drawn against Aston Villa.
So even if Chelsea rotate their squad to keep players fresh ahead of the Champions League final in Munich, they look extremely good value to follow in the footsteps of Wigan, West Brom and Fulham and win at odds of 23/10.
A successful £25 free bet on Chelsea to beat Liverpool is set to return £82.50, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Liverpool’s main problem at Anfield has been scoring goals and they have only found the back of the net twice in their last four home games.
Going further back, they have only once scored more than one goal in a home league game in their last eight attempts, further entrenching the view that Chelsea can defy their underdog status to emerge with the win and pointing to a bet on Liverpool to score under 1.5 goals at 18/25.
However, a better option could be to play on the Reds’ attacking shortfall and bet on Chelsea to score the first goal of the first half.
That the Blues scored the first goal of the first half in the final was no surprise – indeed, it was predicted here on bwinbetting – as Liverpool have now scored the first goal of the match in just two of their last nine games and have conceded the first goal of the first half in six of their last nine fixtures.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have scored the first goal of the first half in seven of their last 11 attempts.
With this in mind, the Blues look good to strike first in the opening 45 minutes – particularly at odds of 19/10.
Chelsea to beat Liverpool @ 23/10
Chelsea to score the first goal of the first half @ 19/10
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