Defeat last weekend for Norwich means the Canaries are just two points above the drop zone and only five clear of Sunderland in 19th, while Liverpool’s loss means they can probably forget about a return to the Champions League any time soon.
This is a very ordinary Liverpool side, who have a goal difference of just +1 since the start of last season and who tend to be a very profitable side to oppose. They do have some talented players in the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Henderson and Lallana, while Benteke and Sturridge offer a significant threat in attack when on form and fit. However, form and fitness eludes most of this squad and while they are capable of the occasional superb performance their general level is no better than the ninth place they occupy. What is more, this is nothing new and, while they’ve won only four of their last 16 away matches, since 2010/11 they’ve lost half their 16 trips to promoted teams.
While there is often a mistake lurking in the Liverpool defence their attack is the main problem. The three goals against Arsenal were something of an anomaly this season as they are only the 12th highest scorers and their last four away matches – at West Ham, Sunderland, Watford and Newcastle – have seen them net only once as they’ve lost three times. As a result 16 of their last 22 away games have had fewer than three goals, including nine of their last 10 trips to bottom-half teams of which seven had no more than one strike.
So what about Norwich’s problems? Well they’ve lost their last two matches while conceding six goals. However, both were on the road and one was heavily influenced by a stupid red card. At home they have a far better record, as since an opening day defeat they’ve gone W4-D3-L2 while conceding just seven times. That has featured draws against the likes of Stoke, Everton and Arsenal, while they beat Southampton in their last game here, and they also came away with a point when they travelled to Anfield earlier this season. Seven of those nine home games have had fewer than three goals, with all three draws finishing 1-1. In what looks likely to be a low scoring affair the home side are clear value but it’s worth taking some cover on the 1-1 at 7.5.
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