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The odds for Newcastle United vs Liverpool have been taken from the Caesars Sportsbook, where new punters will get up to $1250 on Caesars.
Back under 2.5 goals when Newcastle United take on Liverpool this weekend. The Magpies do not score or concede many goals, and the visitors to St James’ Park will look to keep things tight too.
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The last six weeks have not been particularly kind to Liverpool. A return of one point from the first 12 available in the Premier League in 2023 left Jurgen Klopp’s side in danger of dropping into the bottom half of the table. They were also eliminated from the FA Cup last month, going down to Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
The nadir was a 3-0 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers in which Liverpool were thoroughly outplayed by a team that was in the relegation zone just a few days earlier. The Reds were shaky at the back and insipid in attack, leading to a hefty loss to Julen Lopetegui’s side.
Yet partly because their upcoming opponents have been in mediocre form themselves, Liverpool are not yet out of the race for the top four. A 2-0 victory over local rivals Everton on Monday leaves them nine points behind the final Champions League qualification spot.
Liverpool have played a game fewer than most of the teams above them in the standings, while the fact they face Newcastle - a direct rival - this weekend gives them a chance to move even closer to the top four. Liverpool have been far from their best for much of 2022/23, but the season is still salvageable.
In order to qualify for the Champions League, though, Klopp’s men must shed the inconsistency. Even if they win this weekend, Liverpool would have ground to make up.
They still have to take on the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, so they cannot afford to drop too many points in the so-called easier games. Saturday’s clash certainly does not fit into that category, but Monday’s win looks to have restored a degree of confidence within the camp.
Last summer, few anticipated Newcastle mounting a challenge for the top four. Qualifying for the Europa League or the Europa Conference League looked like a more realistic objective. The fact they are behind only three teams in the table after 22 rounds of fixtures is therefore an excellent achievement for Eddie Howe’s side.
Newcastle are undoubtedly ahead of schedule. But because they have been in the top four for so long, it would still be a disappointment were they to drop out of it in the second half of the campaign.
That blow would be cushioned - and then some - if Newcastle were to end a trophy drought which stretches all the way back to 1955. Most fans of the club would happily accept failing to qualify for the Champions League if it meant the Magpies won this month’s EFL Cup final against Manchester United.
Of course, it is not an either-or scenario. Newcastle could achieve both goals in the coming months - or they could fail on both counts.
As far as their top-four push is concerned, Howe’s side have been wobbling of late. Newcastle have still only lost one match all season, the lowest such figure in the division. But they have drawn five of their last six matches, which amounts to 10 dropped points. It would actually have been preferable to lose three and win three of those games.
A relative lack of squad depth could be an issue for Newcastle going forward. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have more options waiting in the wings, and that will be an asset as the season wears on. Howe will hope that his players can find a second wind.
Newcastle’s main issue this season has been putting the ball in the back of the net. They have conceded fewer goals (13) and kept more clean sheets (12) than any other team in the division. But Howe’s side rank only ninth for goals scored, having notched only 35 in 22 matches.
Games involving Newcastle tend to feature few goals overall. Of their last six encounters, three have finished 0-0. Each of those half-dozen contests has contained two goals or fewer.
That is the principal reason why we recommend going for over 2.5 goals as your betting selection for Saturday’s clash. Another is that Liverpool will probably be content to keep things tight at the back too.
The Reds have been dismal defensively for much of 2023. They shipped three goals to each of Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers. But Virgil van Dijk, their best center-back, should be fit to start this weekend, and Liverpool looked more secure at the back against Everton even without him.
This will be an intriguing match between two top-four contenders, but it is unlikely to be a high-scoring one. Under 2.5 goals is the way to go in this one.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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