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Premier League betting: Ho Ho Salah, Liverpool to top the pile on Christmas Day

Jurgen's Klopp's Liverpool have not lost in the league at Anfield since April 2017
Jurgen's Klopp's Liverpool have not lost in the league at Anfield since April 2017

Pinch yourself, yes it’s exactly four months until Christmas. Somehow it’s September next week and the new Premier League season starts in just two weekend’s time. Manchester City have been made the favourites to steal Liverpool’s crown, priced at evens (1/1) with most bookmakers to do so in the Premier League winner market. Back-to-back triumphs for Liverpool has been given a 36% chance of occurring with odds of 7/4 for Klopp’s side. 

Nine of the last eleven league titles have gone to the side who were top on Christmas Day and I’ve taken a look into the latest betting for which side will be top of the pile whilst eating their turkey this year.

Manchester City - 5/4

Opening fixtures:

  • Aston Villa (H)

  • Wolves (A)

  • Leicester (H)

  • Leeds (A)

  • Arsenal (H)

  • West Ham (A)

  • Sheffield United (A)

  • Liverpool (H)

  • Tottenham (A)

  • Burnley (H)

Pep Guardiola’s side were beaten three times in their opening 11 games of the Premier league in 2019/20, whereas they had gone unbeaten in that period in both of the two previous seasons! In total, City lost nine games last season, with most of their issues coming in defence. Aymeric Laporte is by far their most accomplished defender and they may need to add another world class centre-back to their squad if they want to challenge Liverpool this season.

Kevin De Bruyne just seems to get better and better for Manchester CIty. The Belgian provided 20 assists and 13 goals last term and has cemented himself as one of the best midfielders on the planet. It remains to be seen whether or not Phil Foden can fill the David Silva sized hole that will be left after the Spaniard left the club after ten magic years earlier this month. 

The Cityzens scored over 100 league goals once again in 2019/20, 17 more than Liverpool. They have the firepower to blow away any side out of the water on their day and in my opinion they have a rather generous fixture list to start the season in comparison to some of their counterparts. The meeting between the two sides in November at the Etihad could well swing the pendulum for who is top at Christmas, but priced at 5/4 I’m in no hurry to take the price offered for Pep’s side.

Liverpool - 9/4

Opening fixtures:

  • Leeds (H)

  • Chelsea (A)

  • Arsenal (H)

  • Aston Villa (A)

  • Everton (A)

  • Sheffield United (H)

  • West Ham (H)

  • Manchester City (A)

  • Leicester (H)

  • Brighton (A)

Fresh from their first top-flight title in 30 years I’m expecting Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to have another barnstorming season. They were phenomenal throughout the majority of the last campaign and I was surprised to see they did not go on and set further records after winning 26 of their first 27 league games. 

Liverpool have only lost four league games in their last two seasons, and the level of consistency being shown at times are those that have been rarely seen in the history of the Premier League. The spine of the team looks solid with Alisson in goal, Virgil van Dijk at the back and workhorses Fabinho, Henderson and Keita in the middle. I personally think that not adding to their forward line will benefit Liverpool once again this season, with the polished product that is their front-three being as effective as ever last time round. 

With games against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City in their first eight fixtures of the season, plus a trip across Stanley Park to Everton thrown in for good measure, there's no denying it’s a tricky start to the campaign for the Reds. The game against City on November 11 could well decide who his top at Christmas, however I think Liverpool’s proven defensive stability could prove too big a factor here over the course of the first four months of the season. I feel Klopp’s side have a bigger implied chance than the 31% that the price 9/4 suggests, and they look the right selection in this market.

Manchester United - 5/1

Opening fixtures

  • Burnley (A)

  • Crystal Palace (H)

  • Brighton (A)

  • Tottenham (H)

  • Newcastle (A)

  • Chelsea (H)

  • Arsenal (H)

  • Everton (A)

  • West Brom (H)

  • Southampton (A)

If Manchester United can continue their form from the second half of the 2019/20 they will surely better their tally of 66 points of last term. The Red Devils went 14 league games unbeaten from February until the end of last season which helped them to a third place finish. That run included wins over both Manchester City and Chelsea, but defeats in both semi-finals and the FA Cup and Europa league will have put a small dampener on their summer.

For me though the gap between Manchester City and Liverpool to the rest of the league is just too big at the moment. There were 33 points between themselves and Liverpool last season and I don’t think United can sustain the levels of consistency required here to be challenging for the trophy at the end of the campaign. They suffered four defeats in the space of a month last December and January, and with the heavy knock-on impact of Covid19 making this festive schedule more hectic than ever, it could be another tough winter. Bruno Fernandes is the key for the club at the moment and I do worry for them were he to sustain an injury. 

Chelsea 8/1

Opening fixtures:

  • Brighton (A)

  • Liverpool (H)

  • West Brom (A)

  • Crystal Palace (H)

  • Southampton (H)

  • Manchester United (A)

  • Burnley (A)

  • Sheffield United (H)

  • Newcastle (A)

  • Tottenham (H)

Chelsea have already added Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to their ranks this transfer window. There are further rumours around Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva, linking them each with a move to Stamford Bridge. Roman’s Billions could prove to be an edge for Lampard’s side this season with others such as Liverpool a little more reluctant with spending off the back of the financial impacts of the coronavirus crisis. 

Chelsea’s main weakness last season was conceding goals, they leaked more than any other team who finished in the top half of the table. Those defensive issues need to be sorted as a matter of urgency, and without doing so I don’t think they can progress higher than the fourth place they achieved last time out. However, just like in the past, I think Chelsea will go big this summer and given a bit of time I think Lampard could have this side really firing. I’d be holding off on backing Chelsea in this market at least until after their second game of the season against Liverpool. The Reds are 11/10 to win the match and I think Chelsea’s price to win the league or to finish top at Christmas will drift after a defeat here.

Looking at others in the market, both North London clubs have been given just a 3% implied chance of being top of the pile on December 25 at 33/1. Beyond those, bet365 go 33/1 for Leicester and 40/1 Wolves to be top at Christmas, while the full table of prices can be seen below. 

My selection here would be Liverpool. I think we will continue to see the levels of intensity and consistency from how they started the 19/20 season. At 9/4 I think they are a much more attractive price than the 5/4 available on rivals City. The misery of yet another unsuccessful Champions League campaign still hangs fresh in the memory for Pep’s side, and with Liverpool being slightly more fresh, I think they will be quick out of the traps and look the bet to be top come Christmas. 

Verdict - Liverpool - 9/4

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