Liverpool look like they're going to fall agonisingly short of title glory this season, but they know they have to do a professional job against struggling-for-form Newcastle at Anfield on Sunday. Luke Moore takes a look...
"It's easy to hark back to the Kevin Keegan days at Newcastle when previewing this fixture; two legendary 4-3 games live long in the memory."
Liverpool v Newcastle
Sunday May 11, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports 2
It looks likely to be a case of 'so close, yet so far' for Liverpool this season, as slip ups against Chelsea and then Crystal Palace look to have put paid to their first title win in 24 years. Man City are sure to beat West Ham and lift the Premier League trophy, but the Reds know they must get a positive result just in case the impossible happens at the Etihad Stadium.
Whichever way you slice it, it's been a great season for Brendan Rodgers and his players though, and fans of the club can be rightly excited for the journey the charismatic Northern Irishman is committed to taking them on, new contract held tightly in his mitt. You get the impression that Rodgers is hugely proud to manage such an illustrious club, and the identity he's imbued into them of quick, attacking football means the Anfield faithful have taken to him in return.
Newcastle shouldn't, in all reality, pose too many big problems for this Liverpool team and they'll be confident of signing off a memorable season with a win.
There's dissension everywhere among the Newcastle fanbase at the moment, as a group that can legitimately call themselves some of the most loyal supporters in the country grow sick and tired of farcical leadership at the very top of the club and a manager who appears to be out of ideas and humility.
Newcastle's season has finished with a whimper; the only thing worth shouting about recently is a dismantling of a poor Cardiff side, and not many are backing the Magpies to get anywhere near a positive result on Sunday. Most of the side appear devoid of any motivation and desire to do well. In all honesty, the Toon's season is over, they just haven't officially announced it yet.
It's no great surprise to hear that Liverpool are as short as 1.241/4 for this game; as I've already said, Newcastle are on the beach and won't seriously offer any resistance to a potent home attack on Sunday afternoon. It's a little short to be backing though, as the Reds often are (especially this season), and it might be wise to look to other markets available for real value.
If you're genuinely looking to throw some money away for a laugh, Newcastle are available to back at 14.013/1 for the win. Which, to me, looks ridiculously short even at that price.
The Draw is currently trading at 7.87/1.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
It's easy to hark back to the Kevin Keegan days at Newcastle when previewing this fixture; two legendary 4-3 games live long in the memory. The market seems to be doing that too - Over 2.5 Goals is as short as 1.331/3 at time of writing. While the rationale for this price is probably completely sound, it hardly makes for attractive betting and it ranks as another market worth avoiding on this occasion.
If you think we'll see more of a cagey affair, Under 2.5 is there to be backed at 3.711/4, but to be honest, Liverpool start so strongly and Newcastle are so poor currently that I can't back it, not even at that price.
And so to the handicap market we go again in search of value, and backing Liverpool with a one-goaler is a bit of a no-brainer really. When the Exchange market firms up a bit you should get around 1.558/15 on it, and while that isn't massive it's a pretty solid bet. Liverpool have scored 51 goals at Anfield alone this season, yet Newcastle have only managed 19 on their travels.
Half Time/Full Time
The bet of the game for me comes in the Half Time/Full Time market. Liverpool regularly start like a bullet from a gun, and have won 15 of their 18 home games so far this season. They're adept at flying out of the traps, and Newcastle won't have the fight or the desire to do what Crystal Palace did on Monday night, yet the price on Liverpool/Liverpool in this market is currently 1.75/7 and is likely to go even bigger between now and kick off. Get on it.
Back Liverpool-1 at 1.558/15
Back Liverpool/Liverpool in Half Time/Full Time market at 1.75/7 or better