Liverpool the narrow favourites for big clash

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Riding high in second spot, with a game in hand on leaders Chelsea, Liverpool have made the ideal start to the new season, picking up back-to-back 1-0 victories in their opening couple of fixtures.

Sceptics will point out that those wins came against Stoke and Aston Villa, teams that finished 13th and 15th respectively last term and indeed, the weekend will offer more of a measure of the Reds’ progress given that they come up against champions Manchester United.

Nevertheless, Brendan Rodgers’s charges are narrow favourites at 13/8 via Paddy Power to get the better of their bitter rivals, managed now of course by the former boss of their adversaries from across Stanley Park, Everton – a factor sure to add some extra spice to the occasion, as if any were needed.

United meanwhile, are 19/10 with BetVictor to have the edge, as they have done in the pair’s last three league meetings and it’s 12/5 courtesy of William Hill to finish all square – a bet that’s certain to attract a significant number of neutrals.

BetVictor rate the visitors at 12/1 to play out a second consecutive goalless affair at Anfield, where bet365 quote odds of 9/2 about scores being level at the end of each half while punters anticipating at least one goal will be tempted to back Dean Sturridge at 11/2 via betway to fire the opener, given that he’s done likewise in both of Liverpool’s matches so far (as well as bagging a couple in the League Cup on Tuesday), but he’s a better bet at 15/8 (Stan James) to notch at any time.

Manchester City were turned over by Premier League newcomers Cardiff on Sunday but lightning isn’t expected to strike twice as Manuel Pellegrini’s team come face-to-face with promoted Hull.

Stan James rate City at just 1/6 to collect maximum points but their sloppy defending in South Wales suggests that they’re likely to concede at Eastlands where it’s 5/4 via Ladbrokes for both teams to get on the scoresheet and 11/1 (BetVictor) to finish 3-1 in favour of the hosts. Having struck at the Cardiff City Stadium meanwhile, Alvaro Negredo catches the eye at 4/1 via Paddy Power to notch first.

Two teams expected to battle for a top four berth, Arsenal and Spurs lock horns at the Emirates and as it’s a derby showdown, neutrals are expected to get stuck into bet365’s 13/5 for the mouth watering clash to prove inconclusive.

The Gunners, on their own patch, are Skybet’s 11/10 jollies but it’s hard to pick a likely winner in North London where bet365’s 7/10 for the teams to conjure up more than 2.5 goals between them is one of the most eye-catching wagers.

At Selhurst Park, chalk Crystal Palace up at 6/4 to register their first victory of the campaign as they entertain Sunderland and BetVictor mark 13/10 against a maiden win as Everton boss for Roberto Martinez, who takes his team to Cardiff.

Elsewhere, Stan James’s 5/2 for Fulham to plunder three points at Newcastle’s St James’s Park looks a touch high given that they’ve already won in the North East – at Sunderland – this season and West Ham (evens, bet365) should have too much for Stoke.

West Brom’s clash with Swansea at the Hawthorns meanwhile, is 12/5 ( to end in stalemate and the draw is arguably the stand out price at 12/5 with BetVictor at Carrow Road, where Norwich and Southampton collide.

England wrapped up a 3-0 Ashes victory over Australia and although only bad light at the Oval on Sunday denied them a 4-0 success, Alastair Cook and his side were pretty pleased with the outcome while acknowledging that improvements certainly need to be made when the pair renew hostilities Down Under in winter.

Nevertheless, Stan James make England even money favourites to again prevail, the Australians are 2/1 (bet365) to triumph on home soil and it’s 11/2 courtesy of Skybet for the series to be drawn, ensuring Cook’s troops retain the urn.

England’s seam bowlers might enjoy the conditions in Australia and if the batsmen can step up to the plate, then the tourists should emerge victorious once more.

Meanwhile, player of the series across the five Tests just completed, Ian Bell, looks huge at 4/1 with Paddy Power to again be his team’s top runs scorer.

Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa League victors Chelsea face off in the UEFA Super Cup at Prague’s Eden Arena and it’s the German outfit who are expected to lift the trophy, William Hill quoting Pep Guardiola’s charges at 17/20 to prevail in normal time.

Jose Mourinho’s troops are a hefty 7/2 at bet365 and it’s 14/5 (Stan James) to finish all-square but while the two sides are more evenly matched than perhaps the odds suggest, Bayern should be capable of exposing a hint of vulnerability in the Blues rearguard and they can nick it.

Paddy Power post 11/4 against them shading it by one, it’s 9/1 courtesy of Ladbrokes for Munich to register a 2-1 success and Arjen Robben is a 7/1 shot at bet365 to break the deadlock against his former club.

Bet of the week: Liverpool and Man Utd to draw – 12/5 (William Hill).

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