It’s round 11 of the English Premier League and there’s plenty to keep football fans and sports bettors entertained over the course of the weekend. Bournemouth host Manchester United in what’s certain to be an entertaining opener on Saturday before we get into the thick of the 3.00pm start times. Four games will be shown live between BT Sport and Sky Sports.

We focus our attentions on the league leaders who are yet to suffer defeat from 10 previous starts. Liverpool visit Villa Park and are widely tipped to leave with all three points, boosting their chances of winning the title. Nothing can be taken for granted this season, however. We have already seen plenty of proof of that.

The early betting has a reds win marked up as hot favourite and those looking to support Jurgen Klopp and co will have to make do with the 4/11 served up by 888Sport. The hosts would surely take encouragement from a draw and the level finish appeals at 4/1 (Paddy Power). Love a big priced upset? You’ll get 17/2 – market best price – at Betfair on Aston Villa.

Aston Villa Holding Their Own

The locals have held their own following promotion to the top-flight of English football and can be found sitting in 15th place with stats of three wins, two draws and five defeats. They have scored 15 goals so far but conceded 16 and it’s that leaky defence that could spell trouble for them as we head into the frantic winter period. If Villa have any hope of beating the drop and saving their place in the Premier League they must tighten up at the back, turning defeats into draws.

Their form tells us they are improving, however, and Aston Villa prepare for this match having lost only one of their last four outings at this level. They held on for a draw against Burnley at this venue in their final match of September and improved to record impressive wins over Norwich and Brighton in October. A stunning 5-1 away win over The Canaries was followed by a hard-fought 2-1 at home when The Seagulls came calling.

The comeback fell short last time out, however, when Aston Villa were beaten 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium by current champions Manchester City last Saturday. Sterling, Silva and Gundogan. Villa rank amongst the best scorers in the league at the minute but they couldn’t find a way to break down a well organised City defence, although there’s no shame in that one.

Liverpool’s near Perfect Start

Liverpool have been near perfect in the first 10 games of their title challenge and board the team bus for this weekend test with their stats reading nine wins and one draw against no defeats. That has fans excited and many are hoping the club can go through the season without tasting a loss. It’s still very early in the schedule but there’s no denying Liverpool have been impressive so far. They have opened up a six-point gap over Man City and are good value for their lead too.

Arnold of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 1, 2019 in Madrid, Spain

The spare draw in that list came on their penultimate start when being held to a 1-1 at Old Trafford by Manchester United. The Red Devils form suggested that was a game they really should have won but getting anything at the Theatre of Dreams is never easy and credit must go to United for how they raised their game that day to get a point. Fans were looking for a response from Liverpool and they got it in the form of a 2-1 home win over Tottenham on Sunday. Kane broke the deadlock inside a minute but that was overturned by goals from Henderson and Salah.

Speaking to the press at the end of that match, manager Jurgen Klopp said he really enjoyed the football played by his team that day and thought it was a wonderful game for the neutrals. The gaffer added his team deserved the win and the squad will take heart from that. The stats show losing the first goal doesn’t seem to effect Liverpool as they are unbeaten in 10 when conceding the first goal at Anfield.

Salah to Score First

Liverpool won 6-0 when last at this venue, easing to the points back in the winter of 2016. These teams haven’t met too many times in recent years, but the reds did score 10 goals in their last three games vs Saturday’s opponents. That’s worth keeping in mind when planning your assault on the bookmakers. Liverpool will be popular on the handicap, that’s for sure.

Back the away win -2 goals at a tempting 5/2 with Betfair. That’s market best price and is good enough to back as a super single. Mo Salah is the club’s top goal scorer this season on eight and he’ll attract attention to score first here. Back the striker to get the opener at 18/5, Unibet offering the best price on that one.

MATCH STATS

  • Mo Salah has eight goals and four assists already this season
  • Sadio Mane scores a goal every 151 minutes, according to the stats
  • Aston Villa’s last win over Liverpool came in the FA Cup in 2015
  • Both teams have scored in two of the last three games involving these sides
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 20 against the league’s top six teams