As they are nine points adrift of fourth spot with only eight matches to play, Liverpool are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League.
But they’ll be keen to infiltrate the top six and they’re odds-on at 4/5 courtesy of Paddy Power to improve their chances in that department by collecting three points at Aston Villa.
BetVictor price the stalemate at 14/5 and also chalk a 1-1 scoreline up at a potentially popular 8/1. But Paul Lambert’s troops have picked up back-to-back victories in crucial relegation six-pointers to boost their survival hopes considerably and, buoyed by those results, they look huge at 4/1 (Stan James) to register another priceless win.
The case for the hosts is strengthened by the fact that they triumphed 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Anfield and as the Reds also went down 3-1 at Southampton in their last outing, the Villans represent decent value on their own patch.
It looks highly likely that both teams will find the net at Villa Park (4/6, bet365) so Stan James’ 18/1 marked against a 2-1 Villa success looks huge and, as an alternative, there’s Skybet’s 11/2 for Lambert’s side to shade it by a one-goal margin.
Coral, meanwhile, price Christian Benteke at 6/1 to open the scoring, although the form of Luis Suarez means Villa’s Belgian striker is a better bet at 2/1 (Ladbrokes) to notch at any stage.
Manchester United almost have the title wrapped up and they can inch closer with a victory at Sunderland, a result BetVictor offer at 8/11.
Winless in seven, the Black Cats are in danger of getting sucked into a relegation scrap and with striker Steven Fletcher now missing for several weeks they might struggle to score – United therefore stand out at 15/8 with Skybet to prevail ‘to nil’ and BetVictor make them 8/1 to notch twice without reply.
Following their meek performance at Everton last time out, Manchester City don’t appeal at all at 3/10 via bet365 to overcome Newcastle, although the Magpies’ dismal away record suggests that they can’t be trusted either. Subsequently, William Hill’s evens for both sides to get on the scoresheet is arguably the most attractive quote at the Etihad Stadium.
Tottenham’s top four hopes could be dented at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, where bet365 rate a stalemate at 12/5 and Stan James post 6/1 against a 1-1 scoreline and Chelsea, at 11/10 (BetVictor) can capitalise by landing a maximum haul at Southampton.
Staying with the scrap for European places, Arsenal are home bankers at 1/4 courtesy of Paddy Power despite the appointment of Nigel Adkins as manager of the Gunners’ opponents Reading and Coral offer 8/15 about an Everton victory over poor travellers Stoke.
At Upton Park, Skybet make West Ham and West Brom 12/5 to share the spoils while at the bottom, Wigan might have to settle for a point at home to Norwich, an outcome available at odds of 13/5 (bet365) and Harry Redknapp’s desperate QPR are a touch overpriced at 3/1 as they visit Fulham for a West London derby on Monday.
Tony Bellew steps up his bid for a world title shot at the Liverpool Echo Arena this weekend as he tackles Isaac Chilemba and the Commonwealth light heavyweight champion is 1/2 via Ladbrokes to treat the home crowd to a victory.
Skybet make ‘Bomber’ 13/8 to prevail on the scorecards but their identical quote for the heavy handed Bellew to KO his 25-year-old opponent represents marginally better value.
On the same bill Derry Matthews faces a rematch with Anthony Crolla for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight crown and having scored a knockout in the pair’s first meeting just under a year ago the Scouser is 11/10 to defeat the Mancunian again. Crolla, however, could be set to gain revenge and he’s Stan James’ 4/5 favourite.
In Super League, the derby clash between Wigan and St Helens is the highlight of a busy Bank Holiday programme and it’s the Warriors that are favoured at 4/11 (William Hill).
They probably deserve to get the nod from bookies on their own patch but these matches tend to be close and Saints can lift themselves, so they’re worth a look at 10/11 with Skybet when given a 10-point start.
Elsewhere, Huddersfield, at 10/11 can cover the 16-point start given to opponents Salford by bet365 and Warrington are the pick at evens via Ladbrokes when kicking off 18 adrift of local rivals Widnes.
Bet of the week: Aston Villa to beat Liverpool – 4/1 (Stan James).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com