Back in October, Norwich secured a 1-1 draw at Anfield to offer telling proof that their ambitions for the season should perhaps be raised above their stated aim of finishing outside of the bottom three.
Although Liverpool had a number of chances to secure all three points during that game, particularly in the first half, Norwich proved as the game wore on that they were not only capable of beating teams fighting for their lives at the foot of the table but could also compete – and take points from – the Premier League’s elite.
But as much as the game said about Norwich’s prospects for the campaign ahead, it also revealed a great deal about Liverpool.
While a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at Anfield on the opening day of the season could be put down to rustiness, an inability to beat newly-promoted Norwich – and, in particular, their failure to convert their many chances – was a clear sign that the Reds were short of the needed quality to compete for a top-four place.
Even so, the fact that, six months on, Norwich are so close to Liverpool in the table comes as something of a surprise.
Although Liverpool have West Brom to aspire to, the fact they are almost as far off the top four places as Norwich suggests it will be another day of disappointment for the Merseysiders.
Indeed, the Canaries could draw level with Kenny Dalglish’s men – albeit having played a game more – if they beat the Reds at Carrow Road on Saturday.
More than being a result of Norwich’s impressive showing in their first season back in the Premier League, this has much to do with how woeful Liverpool have been in the league.
While Dalglish can point to success in the cups, the Reds have picked up as many defeats as they have wins in the Premier League so far this season and they have lost seven of their last ten league games.
With this in mind, bwin’s 3Way football betting market looks to be seriously skewed in the Reds’ favour given they go into the game as odds-on favourites to pick up all three points at 19/20.
This leaves home side Norwich at 27/10 to grab a win.
At those odds, there won’t be too many people backing Liverpool for the win as they seems to seriously overplay their chances of success.
This, remember, is a team who have lost six of their last eight away games in the league, including trips to play relegation battlers Bolton at the Reebok and QPR at Loftus Road.
It is therefore hard to work out how they are odds-on to beat a side who have lost just five times in the league at home this season, particularly as all but one of those defeats (to West Brom) came against a team in the top five.
As a further illustration of the questionable nature of Liverpool’s odds-on status, the Reds have conceded at least twice in six of their eight Premier League away games of 2012.
This makes odds of 9/5 on Norwich scoring at least twice, along with the 19/50 on them scoring under 1.5 goals, look like further anomalies.
As such, getting on a home win looks extremely tempting at odds of 27/10, with a successful £25 bet on this outcome set to return a healthy £92.50.
Handily, bwin offers a free £25 bet to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
For the more cautious, odds of 5/2 are available for the draw, while a Norwich win helped by a one-goal advantage in the handicap market looks the safest punt of all at 83/100 given Liverpool’s woeful away form and Norwich’s record of avoiding defeat at Carrow Road against teams outside the top five.
And although Liverpool have West Brom to aspire to, the fact they are almost as far off the Champions League places as Norwich suggests it will be another day of disappointment for the Merseysiders.
Recommended bet: Norwich to win with a one-goal head start @ 83/100
Norwich to beat Liverpool @ 27/10
Norwich to score at least twice @ 9/5
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