Premier League Jones Knows Notebook: Kelleher downgrade makes Liverpool vulnerable

Alisson's influence already being felt at Anfield
Liverpool's defence is vulnerable without Alisson

Sky Sports' betting expert Lewis Jones - aka Jones Knows - fresh from declaring Newcastle as the "bet of the season" at Evens to beat Manchester United, puts forward some worrying numbers regarding Liverpool's defence without Alisson and finds an angle to exploit regarding Raheem Sterling's dribbling expertise...

  • Liverpool averaging 2.1 goals conceded per game without Alisson

  • Back BTTS when Liverpool play Sheffield United on Wednesday

  • Raheem Sterling's dribbling is triggering cards galore

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  • Jeepers keepers: Alisson aura being missed

    The importance of a goalkeeper remains one of the most underrated factors when assessing football teams from a betting point of view.

    Not only can a downgrade in goal cause obvious issues when it comes to stopping goals via shot-stopping and being able to command the penalty area but it's the effect it can have on the whole defensive structure. When a defence are used to playing with someone who can be relied upon and then that changes, the nerves spread.

    That type of defending was on show for Liverpool's chaotic 4-3 win over Fulham, where Caoimhin Kelleher's performance only further enhanced just how important Alisson is to Liverpool.

    The Brazilian goalkeeper suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City and is set to miss at least the next two Premier League fixtures.

    Since the start of the 20/21 season, Alisson has now missed nine Premier League games for Liverpool and the basic raw data shows that their goals conceded per 90 rises from 0.9 to 2.1 when he is absent. A huge spike. Even Fulham, a team with problems in front goal, managed to score three times at Anfield with Kelleher arguably at fault for two of those goals.

    Following on from his shaky showing in the 4-4 draw with Southampton towards the end of season, that's seven goals shipped in his last two Premier League starts for Kelleher, who has yet to convince he has the game to be a consistent top-level performer.

    It's Sheffield United away for Liverpool next on Wednesday and whilst Alisson remains missing, the goals should continue to flow at both ends. Paul Heckingbottom's impending departure and potential appointment of Chris Wilder can play a part in lifting the mood at Bramall Lane, so the Blades can follow the likes of Fulham and Southampton in finding a way past the vulnerable Kelleher. Backing both teams to score at 1.9010/11 should land.

    Back BTTS in Sheffield United v Liverpool @ 1.9010/11

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    How to make profit on the rise of Sterling

    Raheem Sterling is playing with a directness and authority that was arguably coached out of him at Manchester City, where he became a more all-round footballer but his dangerous dribbling was rarely utilised by Pep Guardiola.

    Well, that side to his game is at the forefront of Chelsea's plan under Mauricio Pochettino and Sterling is playing some of the best football of his career. He leads the charts for take-ons in the Premier League this season (76).

    So, how can we profit from this supercharged Sterling then? We head to the opposition yellow cards market, that's how. This direct dribbling from Sterling is resulting in some tricky situations for his markers. The Chelsea winger, who is responsible for winning more penalties than any other Premier League player in history, has drawn 12 yellow cards this season - no player has drawn more.

    Sterling's position can fluctuate from right to left flanks depending on Chelsea's shape so waiting until the in-running player cards market forms and backing his opposition marker to be carded should continue to be a profitable strategy.

    Lewis Jones, aka Jones Knows, is Sky Sports' resident betting expert - follow his Premier League tips and predictions across Sky Sports each week.

    Ready for a full-slate of midweek action? Read the Premier League Opta stats betting column here!

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