Weblog: The football punter

My pulse is racing at the prospect of Toon tussle

Newcastle versus Liverpool is a fixture to get the pulse racing although I've always suspected that the pair are still dining out on a couple of 4-3 classics from the mid-1990s.

A quick glance at the head-to-head record (courtesy of the fine Soccerbase website) proves, not for the first time, that I'm talking rubbish.

Newcastle-Liverpool is virtually a guarantee of quality entertainment.

Eleven of their last 13 meetings in the Premier League have featured over 2.5 goals, Liverpool have scored 21 times on their last eight trips to St James' Park, and there hasn't been a goalless draw between the pair since February 1974 – 63 games ago.

And most amazingly of all, Newcastle have won their last two league games while Mario Balotelli scored a goal earlier this week.

I'm not getting too excited about Balotelli's strike against Swansea in the Capital One Cup, though. It was basically a tap-in and he doesn't miss from that kind of range. Oh no, I'm mistaken – that's exactly what he does from that kind of range.

Even a toothless Liverpool attack should get chances against Newcastle's defence. The Magpies have kept two clean sheets in the league this season – against Leicester, who don't score goals away from home, and Aston Villa, who don't score goals anywhere.

I can't trust either of these sides at the moment so I'll go for the trusty both teams to score.

The other Premier League bet of the day is West Brom to win at Leicester.

Since the Foxes put five past Manchester United, they have lost at Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Swansea as well as drawing at home with lowly Burnley.

The Baggies are playing some great stuff, scoring 14 goals in their last seven games in all competitions and they won 4-1 in the League Cup on their last visit to Leicester in 2010.

That was with Roman Bednar up front so they could hit double figures with red-hot Saido Berahino leading the line this weekend.

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Match in Focus

12:45 TODAY BT1

Newcastle v Liverpool

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • The last time this fixture produced a goalless draw was in 1974, 64 meetings ago
Expert verdict
This pair have produced some classics down the years and six of the eight meetings since Newcastle returned to the top flight for 2010-11 have finished with over 2.5 goals. The teams have kept just four Premier League clean sheets between them and Newcastle's recent form suggests they can give Liverpool a decent contest.