Liverpool v Crystal Palace – Anfield at 17:30 live on Sky Sports 1
Liverpool fans have been clamouring for tickets to see their legendary captain Steven Gerrard play his last game at Anfield, while Asian handicap betting punters could not care less about the Premier League’s biggest underachiever calling time on his non-title winning 17 year career at the club.
Brendan Rodgers third season in charge of Liverpool has been a case of two steps back from their last campaign and although there are two big reasons behind their disappointing year, the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the continuing injury problems of Daniel Sturridge.
There are also a number of other issues which cannot be ignored, such as their woeful transfer activity in the summer where they splashed the Suarez cash and then some, on eight average players who did not improve their starting eleven at all.
Alberto Moreno has made the most Premier League appearances of all the new signings, but even he has only featured in 24 of their 36 games so far. While it is necessary to have depth in your squad to cope with the demands of the modern day game, it is not often that a club will have a transfer budget of £100m to spend.
Perhaps if they had gone out and grabbed one or two big name players and three or four squad members they might have enjoyed a more successful campaign. After all, Chelsea who finished below Liverpool last season went out and paid big money for Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa and nine months later, they are the new Premier League champions.
Rodgers side actually sit in tenth place in the form table, directly below their guests on the day Crystal Palace. Thanks to just three wins from the last eight games, Liverpool really made it easy for a faltering Manchester United to claim the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot.
After their dismal performances in the Champions League this season, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that they can now target European glory on a more realistic level in the Europa League competition next season instead, which now guarantees its winner a place in the Champions League for the follow campaign.
Crystal Palace sailed to Premier League safety once ex-player Alan Pardew was installed as manager at the end of 2014. Pardew has Newcastle playing well and picking up points but his relationship with the fans was always strained, so a move to more friendly lodgings made sense for all concerned.
His record of ten wins from just nineteen games in charge has steered his old club to a comfortable mid-table finish, which looked a very long way off when he arrived at the turn of the year. However, since securing their Premier League status it looks like the squad are lacking motivation to continue their promising form.
The Eagles have lost four straight games and only managed to score one goal in the process! Clearly their bonuses were all dependent upon avoiding relegation and with that goal achieved, their minds have turned to their summer holidays already.
However, to be fair they put in an excellent performance against Manchester United last week and with their strong away record combined with the chance to spoil the Steven Gerrard love in, they should push Liverpool all the way this weekend.
The Asian handicap betting line here is around 1.25, which is a line that Liverpool have only fully covered in four of their home games this season and Crystal Palace have only failed to cover the other side in two of their away games.
Those stats look promising if we want to get Crystal Palace on our side and there is decent value in their price as well so, based on that and the fact that the occasion might just turn out to be too much for Gerrard & the home team we are happy to back the underdog on Saturday evening.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Crystal Palace +1.25 at 1.86
Price correct at the time of writing.
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