OPENING day results tend to be the hardest to predict. New signings are still being bedded in, managers don’t know their best sides, and summer tournaments mean that not all players have had the same level of training.
A surprise result is never far away and sometimes it is better to look for these than which favourites will justify their billing.
It’s hard to imagine a more nervous manager than Brendan Rodgers going into the weekend.
The jury is still out on the Northern Irishman, who heads the next Premier League manager to leave betting, at 5/1 with Betway.
In a campaign not short on disappointments, the 6-1 defeat at Stoke on the final day of last season took the biscuit, and was very nearly the final straw for Liverpool’s owners.
A trip to the blowy Britannia has ‘banana skin’ written all over it at the best of times and I can smell an upset in the Potteries on Sunday.
Stoke are a bet to nothing at 23/10 with Sportingbet. Mark Hughes has taken them to another level since replacing Tony Pulis, with back-to-back ninth place finishes, and looks to have bought well again.
The pressure is all on Liverpool and Rodgers. I can see this being a cagey encounter, nothing like the last three games between the sides in Staffordshire, which have generated an incredible 19 goals.
Backing the draw half-time / Stoke full-time double result appeals at 13/2 with Betway, as does a risky, but small sell of the time of the first match goal at 40 minutes with Sporting Index.
Stoke at 23/10 (Sportingbet)
Draw half-time / Stoke full-time at 13/2 (Betway)
Sell time of first match goal at 40 (Sporting Index)