All season I have looked at prices like the one about Liverpool ahead of their clash with West Brom tonight and thought it was some really bad joke, but I am eventually coming round to the fact that the Reds have sorted their home form out and with this in mind, the 7/20 on them to beat a woefully out of form Baggies side looks fair enough to me.
If this game was played three months ago, I would have been all over the 8/1 about the Baggies (maybe in combination with the draw at 18/5) but Albion are in free-fall and at the risk of getting carried away about a Liverpool side that is still a work in progress, I only see one winner at Anfield this evening.
When you have a game like the dreadful Aston Villa defeat on December 15th in your locker there is always an element of caution, but that setback is a rare one for Liverpool at Anfield over recent months. Since an unfortunate loss to Manchester United in September, that Villa horror show is the only reverse Liverpool have suffered in nine home league matches.
Six games have been won, all without conceding a goal, and each one with increasing conviction and panache. The last three games at Anfield have seen Fulham, Sunderland and Norwich dismissed by an aggregate scoreline of 12-0, and although they may not be the best sides in the division, these are the teams that Liverpool have struggled to beat at Anfield for years on end now.
Besides, the way they are playing at the moment West Brom belong in that sort of lower-mid table company. The dream start for Steve Clarke as a top flight manager is over and the Scot is in the middle of a real blip that is threatening to derail a season that promised so much.
There was always a knowing feeling that the Baggies were overachieving, but their fall from grace has been as swift as their ascent. Clarke’s side haven’t won a match since Boxing Day, losing to Manchester United, Fulham, Reading, Everton, Tottenham, QPR and, most unforgivably of all, failing to beat Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.
It is a wretched sequence and go back even further to November 24th and West Brom’s miserable run is two wins in 14 matches in league and cup. It is no form to be taking to Anfield, especially when Albion have struggled on the road all year.
Three away wins isn’t terrible, but repackage it as seven defeats in 12 games and it’s looking bleak for the Baggies. Only West Ham and Reading have lost more often on their travels and it looks like being eight defeats in 13 for Albion come this evening.
West Brom have conceded 23 goals on the road, the fifth worst record in the division, and are the only side in the Premier League not to keep an away clean sheet this term. Free-scoring Liverpool, who have hit 25 goals in their last ten games in all competitions, can put them to the sword.
It is 9/10 that Rodgers’ men win by more than a goal and I like that bet. Six of their nine league wins have been by at least a two goal margin, including four of their six wins at Anfield, and with Luis Suarez the ringmaster of a dramatically improved attack I see another night of toil for Clarke and his team.