Liverpool can come out on top in front of Kop

<strong>LIVERPOOL </strong>vs.<strong> MANCHESTER CITY</strong><br />TOMORROW 12.45PM, SKY SPORTS 1<br />IT is too early to start talking about six pointers, but a win for Liverpool against Manchester City at Anfield tomorrow will send out a clear message that they are still very much part of the Big Four. <br /><br />Rafa Benitez has been under pressure since the very first kick of this campaign, but his side have generally been very strong at home in recent seasons. The Reds have won 24 and lost just one of 35 Premier League games at Anfield since the start of 2008 and have won six and drawn three of their nine against top-six sides during the same period.<br /><br />Mark Hughes&rsquo; team would go up to fourth in the table if they were to win this and they have still only lost one of their opening 11 games. However, their recent form doesn&rsquo;t augur well seeing as they&rsquo;ve drawn all of their last five league games, including three against bottom-half opponents. Their record under Hughes at the best sides also isn&rsquo;t great, taking just one point from five trips to the Big Four and winning just once on the road at top-half sides (W1-D4-L6).<br /><br />It looks as if Benitez will have to cope without Yossi Benayoun tomorrow, which is a blow, but he should welcome back Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Injuries to these star players are undoubtedly part of the reason why Liverpool are in their current predicament, but they should get another boost with the return of Glen Johnson.<br /><br />City fans will be getting slightly sick of these draws, but I&rsquo;m pretty sure Mark Hughes would settle for a point in this one. It could be fairly tight and a first half draw definitely looks on the cards. Liverpool have gone into the break level in just under half of their last 35 home games, while five of the last six meetings between these two have seen a first half stalemate.<br /><br />Hughes may have a problem if his side doesn&rsquo;t win this game &ndash; City&rsquo;s owners expect victories and with the January transfer window coming up, he could be a big price at 10/1 to be the first Premier League manager to get the boot.<br /><br /><strong>POINTERS...</strong><br />Liverpool to win at 19/20 with Boylesports<br />Draw HT / Liverpool FT at 4/1 with Boylesports<br />Sell total match goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index<br />Mark Hughes first manager to lose job at 10/1 general<br /><br /><strong>STOKE CITY </strong>vs. <strong>PORTSMOUTH</strong><br />SUNDAY 4PM, SKY SPORTS 1<br />THINGS were starting to look better for Portsmouth after recent back-to-back 4-0 victories against Stoke and Wigan, but they fell firmly back down to earth with a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn last time. That result was far more fitting with their away form over the past 12 months where they have won just once since mid-November 2008 (W1-D8-L10) and taken just five points from their past 10 on the road.<br /><br />Those statistics read even worse when we see that 15 of those 19 games were against bottom-half sides and Paul Hart&rsquo;s team have taken just two points from seven matches at middle-third sides since September 2008. Although they thrashed the Potters in the Carling Cup at Fratton Park a few weeks ago, Tony Pulis&rsquo; men have an excellent record at home against non-Big Four sides. In 19 games against such oppostion at the Britannia since winning promotion, they have won 12 and drawn five.<br /><br />Stoke were especially impressive against bottom-half finishers last season, winning six and drawing three of their nine home games. They have continued in the same vein this campaign, beating West Ham and unlucky to only draw at home against Wolves.<br /><br />It is true that both of these sides have been involved in some high scoring games of late, but;s analysis points strongly to a low scoring contest. Since the start of last season, 13 of the Potters&rsquo; 19 games hosting non-Big Four sides have produced two or fewer goals. This is also the case in 14 of Pompey&rsquo;s 19 away games since mid-November 2008, as well as eight of those featuring one or no goals. Spread bettors should sell goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index.<br /><br /><strong>POINTERS...</strong><br />Stoke to win at 11/10 on Betdaq<br />Sell total match goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index<br /><strong><br />ENGLAND </strong>vs. <strong>NEW ZEALAND</strong><br />TOMORROW 2.30PM, SKY SPORTS 2<br />Twickenham&rsquo;s spectators found more interest in paper planes than happenings on the pitch last Saturday, but they might be more inclined not to turn up at all this weekend. Martin Johnson and his coaching staff are under immense pressure to squeeze a reputation-saving performance from their team, but it&rsquo;s fair to conclude that they have probably missed the opportunity.<br /><br />The Kiwis are a class above Australia and several classes above last week&rsquo;s weakened Argentina and their record against their hosts speaks for itself. Since winning the World Cup in 2003 England have lost all seven tests against New Zealand by an average of 22 points. The All Blacks&rsquo; autumn international record is remarkable too; since 2003 and prior to this year they were unbeaten in 15 November Tests, averaged 4.2 tries, managed to blank their opponents on seven occasions and only failed to win by double figures twice. On recent performances, I certainly cannot see England getting within Hills&rsquo; 13 point handicap.<br /><br />Starting places for Simon Shaw, Joe Worsley and centre Ayoola Erinle suggest England are, rather disappointingly, set up for embarrassment-avoidance but even this may not be enough to stop a rampaging Dan Carter. The Red Rose has shipped a total of 137 points in seven Tests to the All Blacks&rsquo; No10 and his average at Twickenham alone is a staggering 18.7 points. He didn&rsquo;t miss a kick against Wales and is now within a single point of Andrew Mehrtens&rsquo; national Test points record. Given England&rsquo;s propensity for giving away penalties within range, a buy of New Zealand&rsquo;s kicking metres at 160 with Sporting Index looks attractive.<br /><br /><strong>POINTERS...</strong><br />NZ to win conceding 13 points at 10/11 with Hills<br />Buy NZ kicking metres at 160 with Sporting Index