The festive period has always been a busy one for English football, and this year is no different. The upcoming week will see the Premier League play on Boxing Day, then again over the weekend, and then once again on New Year’s Day – three rounds of fixtures condensed into one action-packed week. This is, of course, a long-standing tradition – Christmas and the New Year just do not feel the same without football. Of course, jam-packed weeks like this one bring the opportunity to ‘earn’ some extra Christmas cheer, if you will. Fans can play on the markets on their phones, via the bet365 app for Android.
Liverpool are coming back into Premier League action having just won the Club World Cup in Qatar, and thus will be flying high after having secured a trophy they have not won previously. Jürgen Klopp clearly prioritized the Club World Cup over the Carabao Cup, taking a full-strength side for the former tournament while a team made up of U-23 players took on Aston Villa in the latter. They were thumped 5-0, but the Liverpool coaching staff insisted that it would be a learning experience for the youngsters, to have played at Anfield against Premier League opposition. They have also been busy ahead of the January transfer window, picking up Red Bull Salzburg forward Takumi Minamino for a fee of £7.25 million. The Japanese international had impressed the Liverpool hierarchy with his performances this season, none more so than against Liverpool in the Champions League group stages, and they moved quickly to secure the playmaker by activating his release clause. This will give the Reds a little more depth in forward areas as they deal with the fixture pile-up that has resulted due to their trip to Qatar – they have a rearranged game against West Ham United to play in the league due to this. However, the weekend went off well for the league leaders as their two closest challengers, Manchester City and Leicester City, played each other at the Etihad Stadium. City prevailed 3-1 over the Foxes, meaning that Liverpool maintained a ten-point gap over City and an eleven-point lead over Leicester with the aforementioned West Ham game in hand.
All of this contributes to the prices one can see for Liverpool at major betting houses. The Reds are almost certain to finish in the top four, which is reflected by the 1.001 price for this offered by bet365. They are also at 1.14 to win the league, showing just how difficult it will be for the likes of Leicester or Manchester City to mount a title challenge. Having stayed unbeaten thus far, they are at 6.00 to emulate Arsenal and go the entire season without being beaten, which is an intriguing choice for punters. Their next league opponents are Leicester City, with the away side slight favourites at 2.05 – this probably is the best value pick if one wants to back Liverpool in their next few matches. Otherwise, punters would probably be better off backing the Reds to progress in the Champions League, where they are at 2.00 to reach the semi-finals, 2.20 to be the furthest progressing English team, 3.00 to reach the final and 5.50 to win it. All these odds show just how dominant a force Liverpool have become, and they are almost probably going to break their long wait for a league title this season to further burnish Klopp’s credentials as the best manager in the world at the moment.