Liverpool take on Sunderland as Norwich visit Stoke!
Just a couple of weeks ago, Brendan Rodgers and his Liverpool players might well have been looking ahead to tomorrow’s trip to the Stadium of Light and rubbing their hands in anticipation of an easy three points.
Not any more. With Paolo Di Canio gone and everybody eager to please their popular caretaker boss, Kevin Ball, and impress the new manager waiting in the wings – Gus Poyet (1/3) or Rene Meulensteen (3/1), judging by Coral’s latest prices – there could hardly be a worse time to go to Sunderland.
Okay, so a 2-0 home win against Peterborough in the Capital One Cup in midweek won’t have Liverpool quaking in their boots, but they will have noted the resurgence in team spirit. Remember, one of the chief reasons a manager is replaced is to give the squad a quick fix when times are desperate. It worked when Di Canio was hired in the first place and it is likely to work again now he has been fired.
Conversely, Sunderland might be thinking this is a pretty good time to be playing Liverpool, too, after the early Premiership leaders’ slip up at home to Southampton last weekend and their defeat to Manchester United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. Yes, Luis Suarez (9/2 to score first or last, 6/5 any time) has returned after suspension, but he wasn’t razor sharp at Old Trafford and might need a game or two more under his belt before he’s back to his brilliant best.
Coral go 15/4 the Black Cats and it’s one of those potential upsets you can just see happening. If it does, it is likely to be by the odd goal, maybe 1-0 (14/1).
Stoke (10/11) have made a solid start to the campaign under Mark Hughes and look good to cement their place in the top half of the table against Norwich, already looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone following a moderate start to the season. It is likely to get worse for the Canaries before it gets better – three of their next four fixtures are against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City and Coral’s relegation price of 11/4 is quite likely to shrink over the next month.
The jury is still out over Newcastle. As poor last season as they were good the season before, the Magpies have made a decent start to this campaign and currently sit in mid-table, but it’s difficult to predict which way it will go. On the face of it, it would seem unlikely that they will get anything out of a trip to unbeaten Everton on Monday, but Alan Pardew’s men have displayed plenty of resolve since their opening-day thrashing at Man City and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them return to the North East with a draw (11/4).
Everton cut loose at West Ham last weekend, but that was not typical of them and this promises to be a low-scoring affair; Coral go 12/1 it ends goalless.
Written by Jon Freeman