Sunday, August 25, 2019

Prediction: Liverpool vs Norwich

Verdict: Liverpool win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 15/8

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to go one step further than they managed last season, Liverpool will open this year’s Premier League campaign when they welcome a returning Norwich to Merseyside on Friday night.

Liverpool

Starting with the hosts, although Liverpool may have managed to clinch their fifth European title last season thanks to a 2-0 win over Tottenham out in Madrid back in June, Head Coach Jurgen Klopp will have some concerns over what was a worrying summer for his side. Suffering a penalties defeat against bitter rivals Manchester City in last weekend’s Community Sheild at Wembley, the former Borrusia Dortmund boss has seen his side win just one of their last six pre-season appearances, including a 3-0 hammering against Italian outfit Napoli last month. Despite enduring what was a far from impressive summer, fans on Merseyside should be confident of making an early statement before Manchester City make the trip to West Ham on Saturday lunchtime. Eventually ending last season a single point adrift of Pep Guardiola’s men and securing a first Premier League crown, the defending European champions do hold an astonishing record on home soil. Unbeaten in the top-flight at Anfield last season, Liverpool dropped just two points on Merseyside with those draws coming against Manchester City and Leicester.

Team News

Liverpool’s deadly front three were short of game time during pre-season but two thirds look set to start the first game of the season. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah played against Manchester City on Sunday, but Sadio Mane likely won’t be rushed back after reaching the AFCON final with Senegal.

Norwich

As for the visitors, after securing a Premier League return in empathic fashion last season and eventually holding a five-point buffer over Sheffield United, the second-tier champions had some real momentum around them over the summer. Bagging 93 Championship goals last season, the second best-attacking return of any side in England footballing leagues and only behind Manchester City, the Canneries have shown some minor signs of a struggle at the end of their pre-season preparations. Despite picking up a hard-fought 1-0 win over Toulouse, they did suffer a 4-1 defeat against Atalanta and a 3-1 loss against Championship outfit Brentford last month. Even more worrying for Head Coach Daniel Farke before their trip to Anfield on Friday, Norwich failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last seven Championship matches last season, conceding a pair of goals in four of those contests.

Team News

Meanwhile, injuries to Christoph Zimmermann, Louis Thompson and Alexander Tettey will see them all sidelined for Norwich, but first choice center-back Timm Klose could return from a hip problem.​

Key Factors to Consider

  • Liverpool were unbeaten in the Premier League last season on home soil. 
  • Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah bagged 22 Premier League goals apiece last season.
  • Norwich scored 93 Championship goals last season, the second-best return of any side in England’s Football Leagues.
  • Teemu Puki bagged 29 Championship goals last season and lifted the Golden Boot.
  • Liverpool have failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last eight appearances.

Conclusion

Despite their sluggish run during pre-season and suffering some high-profile defeats against some of Europe’s elite, Liverpool should be confident of making an early statement on Friday night. With the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah enjoying another standout year spearheading the Reds’ European charge, you also can’t look past Liverpool’s stellar record at Anfield. Although a high-scoring Norwich will be quietly confident of exploiting Liverpool’s recent defensive struggles, we do expect Jurgen Klopp’s men to come out on top in this week’s Premier League opener.

Verdict: Liverpool win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 15/8

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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