Red half of Merseyside are tipped to be celebrating

Daniel Sturridge is back fit for Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby
Daniel Sturridge is back fit for Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby

Liverpool’s recent revival has seen them move ominously into contention for a top-four berth in the Barclays Premier League.

And with key striker Daniel Sturridge fit again, Brendan Rodgers’s troops will be confident of mounting a genuine challenge for a Champions League place as the season approaches the home straight.

A derby triumph at neighbours Everton would really enhance the chances of the Anfield outfit and indeed bookies are predicting it will be the red half of Merseyside celebrating on Saturday evening, William Hill installing them as 11/8 favourites to get the better of the Toffees, BetVictor’s 5/2 underdogs.

The faltering hosts stopped the rot last weekend, registering a hard-fought victory at Crystal Palace and their resilience in that clash might nudge some punters towards Stan James’s 5/2 about this contest finishing all-square or betway’s 11/1 for it to be goalless.

However, Roberto Martinez’s side were wasteful in possession at Selhurst Park and Liverpool have the quality to punish similar profligacy this weekend.

A narrow away success could be on the cards then and subsequently a case can be made for a Reds triumph by one at 31/10 (Ladbrokes).

As the Blues have struggled for goals of late, a victory ‘to nil’ for Rodgers’ troops also catches the eye at 10/3 with Skybet and bet365 quote odds of 17/2 for Liverpool to nick it 1-0.

Sturridge, meanwhile, provides a genuine threat for the Reds so he’ll be well backed at 19/4 via BetVictor to break the Goodison Park deadlock and in his final Merseyside scrap, Steven Gerrard is 3/1 (bet365) to notch at any time.

Liverpool will probably be hoping for a stalemate, priced at 11/4 by Stan James, as the two teams directly above them, Tottenham and Arsenal, face-off in another derby showdown, at White Hart Lane.

However, having picked up a dozen wins in their last 15 outings across all competitions, the Gunners get the nod from the bookies, Paddy Power chalking them up as 6/5 jollies and Stan James marking 5/2 against a home win.

The form of Arsenal is impossible to ignore in north London, where they’re 14/5 ( to shade it by a one-goal margin and in a match that’s 8/13 at bet365 to see both teams find the net, BetVictor go 17/2 about Arsene Wenger’s charges finishing on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.

It’s as you were in the title race after Sunday’s inconclusive affair between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge and the pair can ensure the Blues’ lead at the summit remains at five points this weekend by both collecting maximum hauls.

Jose Mourinho’s team are 4/11 courtesy of Ladbrokes to overcome hapless Aston Villa and Stan James offer just 1/5 about City sending struggling Hull home empty-handed.

Combining those two bankers with a success for Swansea (10/11, bet365) over Sunderland should deliver a healthy return at odds of 21/10 thanks to BetVictor.

At Upton Park, West Ham can hold third-placed Manchester United to a draw, an outcome Stan James offer at 13/5 and go 9/4 about the clash between Leicester and Crystal Palace also proving inconclusive.

Elsewhere, hapless QPR, who lost boss Harry Redknapp in midweek, are 5/6 via Skybet to respond by slumping to a defeat at home to Southampton, William Hill quote Newcastle at 13/10 to edge past Stoke and betway price Burnley at 9/4 to divide the points with West Brom at Turf Moor.

The Six Nations gets under way tomorrow (Friday) as Wales face England in Cardiff and it’s the host that get the nod from bookies, betway installing them as 4/7 jollies.

Stuart Lancaster’s charges are 17/10 underdogs via Stan James to make a winning start to the tournament but in what could be a tight affair, the visitors are worth considering at 10/11 in Ladbrokes handicaps, when given a five-point advantage.

On Saturday, Ireland are just 1/5 (William Hill) to overcome Italy in Rome, where they’re 10/11 (bet365) to cover the home side’s 10-point cushion and France are also 10/11, this time at, when starting 10 points adrift of visiting Scotland.

In the outright betting, England and Ireland are joint favourites at 2/1 with Stan James to lift the trophy, Paddy Power post 3/1 against the Welsh and Les Bleus come in at 6/1 courtesy of Skybet. It’s a safe-looking 8/11 at betway, meanwhile, for no team to land a Grand Slam.

Bet of the week: England to win the Six Nations – 2/1 (Stan James).

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