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Liverpool kick the new Premier League season off against their favorite whipping boys.
ANALYSIS

Poor old Norwich City; their first season back in the Premier League, and they’re sent to Anfield first up – talk about a ritual of fire…

It’s fair to say the Canaries haven’t had the best time of it against Liverpool: one draw and six defeats since 2011, conceding an eye-watering 27 times, is a record that probably still causes John Ruddy to wake up in cold sweats.

But the long-serving custodian has left, as has Chris Hughton who was on the receiving end of a few of these maulings. It’s a new era for Norwich, perhaps this is where they right all of those wrongs.

That said, this is the strongest Liverpool side we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. Stronger than Klopp’s side who last played (and beat) Norwich in 2016, and certainly stronger than Brendan Rodgers’ Luiz Suarez-infused Reds who dished out some almighty hammerings. There’s every chance this ends in another classic demolition job.

Though their Premier League campaign was ultimately fruitless last year, despite netting 97 points, Liverpool have developed an aura of invincibility at Anfield: 17 victories, two draws, 55 goals scored and 10 conceded in 2018/19. Good luck, Norwich.

Farke’s Norwich side last season took the shape of Klopp’s Liverpool in the early days: score a lot (93), concede a lot (57). There’s every chance Norwich catch Liverpool cold in their first game and find the net (I’m ruling out a Norwich victory or draw straight off the bat, however), but with so many goals flying in at the wrong end last year—perhaps a by-product of Farke pushing his full-backs so far up the pitch—it’s hard to see them keeping Klopp’s men at bay for long.

However, priced at -137, Liverpool to win to nil is massive value. It’s the sort of price you only ever see at the start of the season, where sides like Norwich are an unknown quantity at this level.

Anfield is a fortress and Liverpool will be water-tight at the back once again this season, there’s little doubt about that. Unfortunately for Norwich, they’re in for a rude awakening.

The elephant in the room this season in the Premier League is VAR. My three least favorite letters. I personally despise VAR, but it’s here to stay, so eventually I’ll suck it up – but not today.

As we saw in the Men’s and Women’s World Cups, VAR caused absolute chaos, primarily in the form of penalties being awarded.

I don’t expect VAR’s Premier League debut to be incident-free, and considering Liverpool received 7 spot-kicks in the league last season—and the fact they’re playing at home against a newly-promoted side—there’s every chance they’re awarded another on Friday, especially at +200.

Michael Oliver had the fifth-highest penalties-per-game ratio of all the Premier League referees last season, making him one of the more whistle-happy referees on the circuit.

A penalty to be awarded is a market worth looking at throughout the season.

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