Sky Sports' opening 'Super Sunday' of the 2014/15 season gets underway this weekend. First up are last season's runners-up Liverpool, who welcome a new look Southampton side to Anfield for the 13:30 kick off. Tune in after that Sunday roast because here are some free football betting tips.
After coming so agonisingly close to the title last year, Liverpool will be keen to get off to a flying start as they face a really tough set of opening fixtures in this season's campaign. With trips to Manchester City and Spurs following their clash with The Saints, a home win this weekend will be crucial for gaining some early season momentum.
Obviously, it would be impossible not to mention the loss of Luis Suarez. Brendon Rodgers has a real conundrum on his hands over how to replace a 31 goal striker – A problem he has far from solved. If Liverpool are going to touch anywhere near the heights of last year, this is something that needs to be addressed in the next two weeks.
Pre-season form for The Reds was impressive, as they reached the final of The Champions Trophy in the USA, beating Manchester City, Olympiakos and AC Milan in the process. Despite taking the lead and squandering several chances in the final, they eventually lost 3-1 to Manchester United after a kamikaze two minutes on the hour. Once again it was more defensive errors that cost them, a scenario still fresh in the memory from last year.
However, heading into their final match before Sunday's encounter, Liverpool produced an excellent display in demolishing last season's Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund 4-0 at Anfield. New signing Dejan Lovren – A £20m acquisition from Southampton – Found his way onto the scoresheet and looked impressive with Martin Skrtel in the Liverpool back four.
Similarly to their opponents, Southampton have also had to make do with losing their best player. Unfortunately for them, this was followed by their second and third best players as well. Although The Saints have money to burn at the moment, much of their new squad and manager himself, have very little Premier League experience. However, new boss Ronald Koeman has brought in Irish international Shane Long in the last few days. If Southampton can keep hold of Jay Rodriguez, they will have a very lively strike partnership with lots of goals in them.
Like Liverpool, Southampton's pre-season was also very impressive – Albeit against lesser opposition – Ronald Koeman's men produced five wins from six and conceded only two goals in the process. New signing Frazer Forster is likely to make his debut between the sticks and Jose Fonte will have a new partner at centre-back. The Saints defence will have to hit the ground running if they are to keep a lethal Reds' attack at bay.
Browsing the prices for this weekend's clash, and unsurprisingly the bookies have Liverpool as huge 4/11 favourites. Although, I can't see them losing this game especially after such a fine performance against Dortmund last weekend, there is such little value in backing this outright. The Reds actually lost 1-0 at home to Southampton early last season, which certainly highlights this risk. For those of you can think lightening can strike twice though, most bookmakers are offering 9/1 on a Saints' win and the draw fetching a steady 9/2.
However, I just can't see past anything other than a home victory, which leads me into the HT/FT market. Liverpool scored the most 1st half goals in the league last year as well as notching first in 78% of home games. If this wasn't enough, they also had the best record in the league for home goals in the first fifteen minutes as well. Even without Suarez, The Reds still have more than enough quality. With these facts in mind, back Liverpool to be winning at HT/FT at 10/11 with Coral, along with a goal in the first 15 minutes at 11/4 with William Hill.
Moving into the goalscoring markets and the stage is now set for Daniel Sturridge to emerge from the shadow of Luis Suarez. Despite missing several weeks through injury last year, the England international still managed to bag 21 goals and finished second to his former team-mate in the scoring charts. Perhaps more importantly from a betting perspective though, he opened the scoring against Borussia Dortmund last weekend with a classy strike inside the first ten minutes. At 10/3 with Betfred, there is some excellent potential value on offer with their DD/HH promotion.
Back him along with Jordan Henderson to score anytime at 5/1 with Coral. Although the former Sunderland man is hardly prolific, his goalscoring improved significantly towards the end of last term and he has also notched twice in pre-season against Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. With Steven Gerrard playing much deeper in his 'quarterback' role along with either Joe Allen or new signing Emre Can, Henderson is likely to given licence to push forward. Until Adam Lallana returns to the fray, Jordan Henderson will be a decent outside bet and well worth a few of your beer tokens this weekend.
Liverpool v Southampton Betting Tips
Liverpool HT/FT – Bet Here at 10/11 with Coral
A Goal in the First 15 Minutes – Bet Here at 11/4 with William Hill
Daniel Sturridge to Score First – Bet Here at 10/3 with Betfred
Jordan Henderson to Score Anytime – Bet Here at 5/1 with Coral
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