Okay, I know their recent away form is not too great. I know that they haven’t played anywhere near their potential this season. And I also know that their record at Anfield has been pathetic for so long that Raheem Sterling wasn’t even born the last time Newcastle United went to Liverpool and won.
But for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Toon are 9/2 to go and beat the Merseysiders at Anfield on Sunday. Have I gone mad, or has everybody else taken leave of their senses? And by everybody else, I mean the odds compilers at bwin, because I think that is a price that defies any type of logic.
Now I realise I have been here before with Newcastle this season. When the Magpies were 11/2 to go to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea just a couple of weeks into the season, I was all over that price like Alan Pardew was all over (snip – bwin editor) only for the Toon to turn in quite a limp display and lose 2-0 pretty comfortably.
But that was Chelsea, the reigning European champions who have Eden Hazard and Juan Mata in their ranks. This is Liverpool, who still have to suffer the ignominy of giving Joe Cole a walk-out (he can’t run anymore) because he remains at the club as nobody else is daft enough to pay him £90,000 a week to eat and smoke his way through a contract.
And when you consider that Newcastle are just half a point shorter to win at Anfield than they were to win at Stamford Bridge, somebody has got something badly wrong somewhere and I really don’t think it is me. I mean seriously, who is backing Liverpool at 53/100? 53/100! FIFTY-THREE TO ONE HUNDRED?
That’s the worst price since (insert name of most of Liverpool signings since Graeme Souness paid £2.3million for Paul Stewart) and I would actually sever ties with anybody who backed it, because we clearly have nothing in common.
Liverpool’s abject 3-1 loss at home to Swansea can only be half explained away by the presence of Cole, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and all the other rubbish that clogs up the squad: it happened because they are not very good and haven’t been at Anfield for some considerable time.
The Reds won just six of their 19 home league matches last year and Brendan Rodgers has been unable to remedy that statistic. The former Swansea boss has won just two of his nine home matches in all competitions and he has such a huge job on his hands, there is little he can do until the transfer window arrives, providing funds are made available to him.
Because the players he has at his disposal are not as good as the ones at Pardew’s disposal. That was proved last season, and even accounting for the Toon’s own iffy start, they are still three points above Liverpool in the table.
Not too many Liverpool players would get in the Newcastle team – what would Liverpool do for Demba Ba right now? – and for me, Pardew’s side will definitely finish above the Reds again this year.
Although I suppose I should air the reservations about the 9/2, mainly because of Newcastle’s record at Anfield, which is pitiful beyond words. The Toon Army haven’t seen their team win at Liverpool since 1994 and they have lost 13 of the last 15 trips, most of them without putting up much of a fight.
The draw may be popular at 16/5, especially as, like I have said, Newcastle have failed to fire like they did last season. They have failed to win ay of their seven away matches this term, drawing five of them, and it may be case that they are not to be trusted either.
But at 9/2, they just have to be backed. Pardew spoke of his delight at having a free week to work with the players for the first time this season and it could be that the extra yards on the training ground pay dividends.
If you aren’t as confident, then take the 27/20 on Newcastle with a goal head-start, which is another great price as I really don’t see Newcastle losing. Or take the 11/5 on Newcastle in the draw no bet market, which again is far too big.
Basically, whatever you do, get on some variation of Newcastle going to Anfield and getting something because they are the better team and can prove it on Sunday.