Liverpool v Watford, 7.30am Saturday 14th December
Irrespective of Liverpool’s result against Watford on Saturday morning, The Reds will top the Premier League table on Christmas Day.
The good news for Jurgen Klopp & co is that twelve of the last fifteen league leaders at Christmas have gone on to lift the title in May. The bad news for Jurgen Klopp & co is that the three anomalies were Liverpool – in 2008/09, 2013/14 & last season.
However, they’ve never had the comfort of an eight-point lead as they have now. Four points separated them from Manchester City last year, while just a point and goal difference split them and the chasing pack in 2009 and 2013 respectively.
It would take a few Steven Gerrard-sized slips to throw it away again and we don’t expect one against The Hornets on Saturday. Thirty-nine points separate these sides – after just sixteen games – and the league leaders are just -530 to take the three points in Nigel Pearson’s first game in charge of Watford.
Klopp could rotate his starting line-up ahead of a manic festive fixture pile-up that includes at least one Club World Cup match. It is advisable, therefore, to wait until an hour before kick-off to bet on any goalscorer markets. Should he start, Divock Origi looks good value at +125 to score anytime and +400 to open the scoring.
The Reds have scored a whopping 16 times in their last three home games against Watford, and that’s when their opponents were not in the precarious position they’re in now. Over 4.5 home goals looks great value at +425 with CanPlay.
Chelsea v Bournemouth, 10.00am Saturday 14th December
Five consecutive Premier League defeats isn’t exactly the ideal preparation for Bournemouth ahead of a visit to Stamford Bridge against an exciting, young Chelsea side who have just qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Eddie Howe’s side lie just one point ahead of the relegation zone and will need to replicate the form that saw them beat Manchester United in early November to take anything against Frank Lampard’s fourth-placed Chelsea.
The Blues aren’t exactly in fine form themselves though domestically – losing three of their last four Premier League fixtures. The clubs have met eight times since The Cherries were promoted to the top flight and only three of those have seen both teams score. Chelsea have taken maximum points in five of those. Furthermore, Bournemouth have only scored three times in their last five Premier League outings on the road and we like the look of a Chelsea win to nil here at +115. An Eden Hazard-inspired Chelsea won this tie at Stamford Bridge 2-0 last season and we’re plumping for the same correct score again at +700 with CanPlay.
Only one player has scored more Premier League goals this campaign than Tammy Abraham – who’s averaged a goal every 104 minutes. The young England striker, who scored against Lille on Wednesday, is -190 to add to that tally on Saturday and +220 to net the opener.