Weblog: The football punter

Underwhelming duo can still serve up a classic

CAST your minds back a couple of months and they’d have been billing Liverpool against Arsenal as a potential title bout. Now it’s significance is in which of these two makes the top four.

Gunners’ fans know all too well about flattering to deceive and almost accept their eventual subsidence around this time of year with a customary good grace.

Liverpool thought it might be different under Jurgen Klopp but, as with so many of his predecessors, he also seems to be mastering the art of underwhelming.

Finishing in the top four is such a massive deal, of course, that the Liverpool-Arsenal clash is pretty much game of the weekend, especially if neither of them are actually in the top four come kick-off time courtesy of Man Utd duffing up Bournemouth.

Which, given Matt Le Tissier’s reasoned analysis over who gets the decisions when giants meet minnows, is pretty much a certainty.

So, Liverpool v Arsenal. Probably best to bet what’s least expected though given the mercurial nature of both of these sides, heaven knows what ‘expected’ looks like.

The first game between the two was a seven-goal thriller, a masterclass in how not to defend and, judging by Liverpool’s exploits at Leicester and Arsenal’s at Bayern, they haven’t managed to learn any lessons from August’s 4-3 cracker.

You could try a cheeky Arsenal and over 3.5 at 10-1. Over 3.5 shots on goal should be a similar price in the showdown between Stoke and Middlesbrough.

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Match in Focus

17:00 Su 26Mar ITV

England v Lithuania

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • England have been level at half-time in two of their four qualifying matches
Expert verdict
Bookmakers can’t see past England when they host Lithuania in this World Cup qualifier and even the most pessimistic Three Lions fan would find it hard to make a case for the Baltic nation. Gareth Southgate’s men may need time but should ultimately win and the value could lie with anticipating a draw at half-time with England striking late.