Second-placed Liverpool host Mark Hughes' Stoke on the 27th. Luke Moore previews the betting...
"You're going to need to be brave or stupid to back Stoke here, given the raft of stats and pages of history that go against them, and the market looks as if it agrees."
Liverpool v Stoke
Live on Sky Sports 1
Liverpool are the country's most swashbuckling attacking outfit - their high-pressing, hard-running and forward-thinking style makes them a good side to watch, and if they can tighten up defensively then they're real challengers for the league title.
As one of only two undefeated teams at home in the Premier League this season (Spurs, if you're wondering), they'll be confident of a good win on Tuesday against an inconsistent Stoke outfit who have only won one league game this month and have a pretty poor record at Anfield - they've never won there in the Premier League and what's more, Mark Hughes has never won there as a manager.
The Reds are the highest-scoring team in the top flight, but they'll have to do with Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings who are both injured. At the back, Joel Matip may well return to the fold, which will be a huge boost for Jurgen Klopp and his defensive line.
Stoke's mini-period of good form appears to be on the way to deserting them, and they now haven't won in the league for three games. Of those three though, the most confidence-sapping would have been being pegged back by Leicester in the dying stages of their last game, especially given that the Foxes had played the majority of the game with ten men.
It's a tough ask for them to go and get something positive from an Anfield visit now, but it'll be a big occasion and that may sharpen the focus for Mark Hughes' men. Liverpool are relentless going forward though, and the Potters will do very well indeed to keep them out. Given that Hughes' men are among the lowest scorers in the division, they may have to.
Marko Arnautovic is suspended and Geoff Cameron, Phil Bardsley and Stephen Ireland are all injured. Jack Butland is still out with an ankle problem.
You're going to need to be brave or stupid to back Stoke here, given the raft of stats and pages of history that go against them, and the market looks as if it agrees. Although [1.33] is actually a touch more generous than I was expecting to see on a Liverpool win, it's still restrictively short for a recommendation here and we'll need to look elsewhere for a bet.
Stoke are [12.0] to notch their first league win at Anfield, and the draw is [6.0].
This market is further evidence that the market is predicting a big Liverpool performance. [1.57] is the price you'll get on over 2.5 goals, and that's not because people think Stoke will be banging them in - they've managed eight on the road all season. Not too bad, but no more than a goal a game on average.
It's Liverpool's 21 home goals that bettors are expecting to see more of, and that's why the price on Overs is so restrictive. If you fancy Stoke to restrict Klopp's men, then a big [2.64] is available about Unders.
I think those Redmen will be full of festive cheer at Anfield around this time of year and I'm going to back them to win with a handicap. Liverpool-1 is available at 3/4 generally but I think on the Exchange we should be able to get about [1.9]ish. That, for me, is a good bet given the current form of both teams.
Back Liverpool-1 to beat Stoke at [1.9] or better
Luke Moore 2016/17 P/L