Premier League: Spurs help Liverpool to the Top!

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool are back on top of the Premier League tonight after a dramatic late winner courtesy of Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld.

With six games to go the Reds have nudged ahead of Manchester City who have a game in hand, against Cardiff City on Wednesday. City is still a firm favourite with the latest Premier League 2019 betting odds pointing to the trophy returning to the Etihad. But for now Jurgen Klopp’s side can relax after Spurs gave them a huge test.

When the earlier Premier League 2019 updates came through with the news Chelsea had grabbed a late win over Cardiff put more pressure on Mauricio Pochettino’s team, as four teams are now separated by a single point in the hunt for two Champions League places. They responded well but lady luck just wasn’t on Spurs’ side.

Highlights of the game

The Reds were almost gifted an early goal when Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made a shocking clearance, straight to the feet of James Milner who passed to Mo Salah on the edge of the box. The Egyptian has been on a dry run of late and he fired way over.

There was a nervy atmosphere inside Anfield as Spurs began to play the ball around neatly and started to look the better side, but the roof came off the stadium when Roberto Firmino scored the opener, against the run of play, to lift the tension. Andy Robertson collected a pass on the left side and swung a tempting ball into the box, between two Spurs defenders and onto the head of Firmino who made no mistake, heading down and into the net.

First Half 1X2 Napoli @ 2.02 Over 3.00 @ 2.01 Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.03CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Serie A

Liverpool quickly got into their stride, knowing that a one goal lead is rarely enough against Spurs and were pushing on for a second, but their keeper almost dropped a clanger to give the visitors an equaliser. As they threw a ball over the top Alisson called for it, but then looked to back out before finally getting his head to clear as Dele Alli prepared to pounce.

And Alli came so close, just after the half hour, with a dipping volley from distance which flew just over the bar.

Sadio Mane has been in scintillating form for the Reds, scoring 11 of Liverpool’s last 20 goals in all competitions. And he thought he’d bagged another, on 38 minutes, picking the ball up on the edge of the box and firing one towards the far corner but as he expected the net to bulge it curled an inch wide.

Spurs ran out for the second half in attacking mood and came very close again. Harry Kane stung Alisson’s palms with a cross shot and the ball fell to Christian Eriksen who looked certain to score but Roberson put in a superb block.

As the game swung from end to end Mo Salah charged into the Spurs area after a fast break but his shot was blocked when maybe he should have passed.

Spurs were right back in the game and Liverpool’s defence had to stand firm as crosses flew into the danger area. And the pressure paid off with 20 minutes to go, when Kane swung a free-kick over to Kieran Trippier on the right flank, and his cross was helped on the way by Eriksen to Lucas Moura who slammed the ball home.

Tottenham Hotspur failed to upset us oods after losing vs Livepool

Lucas Moura scores an equaliser against Liverpool during the second half

Suddenly the tension was a fever pitch again and Liverpool threw men forward in a desperate hunt for a winner. But they were almost hit on the counter attack as Spurs broke brilliantly but Moussa Sissoko blasted over.

And then, as so often happens at Anfield, the late dramatic goal came. As the ball swung over Salah headed towards goal and Lloris could only palm it out giving Toby Alderweireld no time to react as the ball bounced off him and crept over the line.

Key Statistics

Liverpool was at odds of 1.59 to win this game with us but it was never that comfortable.

But the Reds are unbeaten in 50 games when they have gone ahead and have now scored their 400th goal under Klopp.

They have also reached 79 points, matching the tally they reached when they last won the league back in 1990.

Spurs’ difficult run continues and they have now lost four away games on the run while picking up just one point from the last 15.

What’s next?

Spurs has another tough game next week, a London derby against Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s Eagles are climbing away from the relegation zone. And then it’s Manchester City in the Champions League. That’s not one to miss!

The Sky Blues went back to the top of the Premier League with a win over Fulham on Saturday and are still on for an historic quadruple.

Liverpool is away to Southampton next, another team in good form in the lower reaches of the table, before continuing their Champions League campaign against FC Porto.

 

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Reds get out of jail

Liverpool kept their title hopes alive as Toby Alderweireld scored a dramatic stoppage time own-goal in a 2-1 win for the Reds over Tottenham at Anfield.

Lucas Moura's goal midway through the second half looked certain to have earned Spurs a share of the spoils and poured cold water on the title hopes of Jurgen Klopp's side.

The home side went in front just after the quarter hour, Andy Robertson's teasing cross from the left headed downward into the net to Roberto Firmino.

It was Spurs that upped the ante in the second period however, looking dangerous long before Moura's strike.

He was there to slot home from six-yards on 70 minutes after excellent work from Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and Christian Eriksen.

That looked like being decisive until the final minute of normal time. A Liverpool corner was only partially cleared and from Trent Alexander-Arnold's high cross, Salah's header was not dealt with by Hugo Lloris, who punched the ball into Alderweireld and it cannoned over the goal line off the central defender.

The dramatic late piece of fortune sent Liverpool back to the top of the table, two points clear of Manchester City, with a game more played.

Klopp admitted he didn't care how Liverpool had gained their victory on this occasion.

"City last year were champions and are still pretty good. We have to fight like crazy. The crowd was outstanding. They were really here to push us and at the end it helped," said the Liverpool manager.

"It is only positive. I said there are 500 ways to win a football game and today was slightly ugly. Who cares?

"I am really happy we don't have any breaks now. We compete with the best team in world for one position and that is really hard."

Liverpool are 7/4 to win the Premier League, with Man City now 4/9. Spurs meanwhile are 8/13 to finish in the top four after their latest setback.

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Serie A: Napoli Wreck Ranieri’s Homecoming

AS Roma 1-4 Napoli

Three second half goals scored by a rampant Napoli side gave them a convincing Serie A victory over troubled Roma.

This fixture is normally one of the big clashes in the Italian league, but today it turned out to be a walk in the park for Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli. Roma fans have been hoping that the return of Claudio Ranieri as head coach would spark an upturn in their fortunes but this was a disastrous performance on their home turf.

According to the pre-match Roma vs Napoli betting odds this should have been a tight game with Napoli as a marginal favourite at  2.33, but having led for the vast majority of the game the three points were only briefly in doubt when Roma grabbed a first half injury time equaliser from the penalty spot.

Highlights of the game

Roma strikers Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy had an almighty row after I Giallorossi lost to SPAL last time out. But they were kept apart today as there was no sign of El Shaarawy on the pitch or subs bench, and that made the home side look rather toothless.

Lorenzo Insigne has been an inspirational player for Napoli and he’s a driven man, still haunted by his penalty miss that handed Juventus a crucial win in a recent top of the table clash. But he too was absent in this game and that gave Jose Callejon the captain’s armband and Simone Verdi a starting place, and both stood up to the task admirably, Verdi in particularly putting in a superb performance.

There was a goal at either end of the first half  as Arkadiusz Milik latched on to a Verdi through ball and hammered his shot into the top right corner to give the visitors a second minute lead.

us Serie A fans expected Claudio Ranieri to spark an upturn in AS Roma

Claudio Ranieri gives indications in AS Roma’s match against Napoli

The stadium fell silent and Ranieri looked crestfallen, and increasingly worried, as Verdi peppered the home goal with shots. Roma keeper Robin Olsen made a superb save late in the first half after Fabian Ruiz fed Verdi just outside the box and he rifled a shot towards the bottom corner. And that save looked all the more important when Napoli keeper Alex Meret pulled down Patrik Schick in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.

Diego Perotti fired the spot kick coolly into the bottom right corner and the Stadio Olimpico came to life again.

The home fans must have hoped the equaliser, in the fourth minute of injury time, would give their side some momentum, but the outcome was quite the opposite. Napoli started the second half with great tempo and restored their lead just four minutes in. Captain Callejon crossed for Dries Mertens to fire his tenth league goal of the season home from close range. Napoli snatched a late point against Roma back in October, thanks to a Mertens strike but this game was an altogether more comfortable outing for Gli Azzurri. And the visitors went further ahead just five minutes later when they broke quickly and Simone Verdi took a pass from Fabian Ruiz to fire home his well deserved goal.

And that was that. Amin Younes still had time to make it 1-4, late in the game firing home with ease from a corner.

It was another bad day at the office for Roma.

Key statistics

The visitors satisfy Roma vs Napoli betting odds and win in Stadio Olimpico

Simone Verdi celebrates scoring in second half of Napoli’s visit to Stadio Olimpico

Napoli ran out deserved winners having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and winning the shot count by 20 to 14 with ten to three on target.

Milik’s early strike was his 16th league goal of the season.

Gli Azzuri used the ball brilliantly with a passing completion of over 90 per cent while the hosts completed 81 per cent of their passes. And it was a busy day for the referee, handing out six yellow cards, four to the frustrated hosts and two to Napoli.

I Giallorossi still lead the head to head Roma vs Napoli results in the 40 games played since 1993, but that will be scant consolation for their fans.

What’s next?

Next up, Roma has a home game against Fiorentina and then a visit to Sampdoria.

Neither will be easy. The Viola is in tenth and a dangerous opponent while Sampdoria is just two points behind Roma in seventh. These will be two good games for us Serie A fans to enjoy but testing for Ranieri.

Napoli has two games they expect to win, away to Empoli and then at home to Genoa, before taking on Unai Emery’s Arsenal in the Europa League.

 

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Warnock ‘deflated’ by late reverse

Neil Warnock suggested the Premier League is the 'biggest and best league in the world but probably [has] the worst officials' after Cardiff's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

Relegation threatened Cardiff were closing in on a priceless win courtesy of Victor Camarasa's volley early in the second half when they were pegged back by a controversial leveller from Cezar Azpilicueta six minutes from the end.

Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek then headed the winner in stoppage time to break Cardiff hearts.

In between the Chelsea goals, Cardiff felt they had a further grievance when Antonio Rudiger was shown only a yellow card for bringing down Kenneth Zohore as he bore down on goal.

Azpilicueta was clearly in an offside position whne the ball was flicked into his path for the first Chelsea goal.

According to Warnock, referee Craig Pawson actually had a decent game, but he was less pleased with his assistant.

"I am deflated because we have worked hard for this game and felt we could win it. When you don't win and it is nothing to do with ourselves it is a kick in the teeth," said Warnock.

"Against the big teams you have to have VAR because you don't get the big decisions. The equalising goal is the winning goal really, and if you can't see across the line and see offside I don't know why we are in the game. I look at the two penalties we should have had and the red card [for Rudiger] against Kenneth Zohore.

"The biggest and best league in the world but probably the worst officials at the minute. What can I say about my lads? They were brilliant and it made for a great game. It kicks you in the teeth. We've had enough of them this year."

The Cardiff boss went into the centre circle after the final whistle, staring down the match officials without speaking, as he applauded his own supporters. Warnock admitted he didn't want to see his players engaging with the officials.

"At that stage people might be happy to see you say something and get fined but what can you say? I wanted to get my lads away because I didn't want to get anyone punished," he added.

Cardiff are 20/1 to win away at Manchester City on Wednesday, while Chelsea are 1/4 to beat Brighton.

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La Liga: Barcelona Set Sights on the Yellow Submarine

Villarreal vs Barcelona

Unless Barcelona suffer an epic collapse in their last nine league matches, the La Liga title will once again be headed to the Camp Nou for the fourth time in five years.

Barca have been in phenomenal form of late. They’ve won their last seven matches in a row in all competitions and have a commanding 10-point lead on second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona are coming off a big win over Espanyol in the Catalan Derby during the weekend as Lionel Messi once again provided the magic touch.

They will now look to extend their lead in midweek against Villarreal, who are still stuck in a relegation scrap after picking up another defeat on Saturday.

It would go down as one of the La Liga 2019 results of the season if Villarreal were to take down Barca. But are they really capable of causing a massive upset against the champions?

Talking Points

Unstoppable Messi

Messi had a pretty torrid time on his return to the Argentinean national team over the international break as he suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss to Venezuela. But that disastrous outing didn’t seem to have any impact on his club form as he picked up right where he left off for the Blaugrana.

Messi scored both of Barca’s goals in their 2-0 win over Espanyol, pushing him past 40 goals on the season. Incredibly, Messi has now topped the 40-goal plateau for 10-straight seasons, which is an unbelievable feat.

To put Messi’s recent brilliance more into focus, he has scored 10 goals in Barca’s last six league matches and has assisted in two others. He also had two goals and two assists in Barcelona’s 5-1 second-leg win over Lyon in the Champions League.

At this point, it’s almost expected that Messi will deliver the goods and lead Barcelona to all three points in every match he plays. Even when the team isn’t necessarily playing at its best, Messi can seemingly do his magic and bail them out at the snap of a finger.

And in the off-chance that Messi isn’t at the top of his game, Barca still have legitimate game-changers in Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho who can step up if necessary. It’s almost unfair how good this team is.

Villarreal still in danger of the drop

La Liga: Carlos Bacca and the rest of Villarreal are set to face Barcelona at home

Villarreal forward Carlos Bacca celebrates with a teammate after scoring their second goal against Zenit in the Europa League

Villarreal missed out on a golden opportunity to put some much-needed distance between themselves and the relegation zone over the weekend. The Yellow Submarine squandered a 2-0 lead away from home against relegation rivals Celta Vigo, who stormed all the way back to grab the 3-2 win.

That defeat means that Villarreal are now just one point ahead of Celta, who are in 18th, with nine games left to play.

The loss also snapped Villarreal’s two-game winning run, their longest win streak in what has been quite an inconsistent La Liga season. Prior to those two wins, they lost to Atletico Madrid and to Alaves at home. They beat Villarreal 3-0 but also drew to fellow strugglers Espanyol and Valladolid.

On the bright side, though, Karl Toko Ekambi is in fine form at the moment. The 26-year-old Cameroonian is the team’s leading scorer this season with seven goals, three of which have come in the last two games.

Villarreal don’t possess a ton of attacking talent, so if they’re to take any points against the league leaders, Ekambi will likely need to play a pivotal role.

History

Villarreal’s list of results against Barcelona makes for some pretty rough reading. That’s because the Yellow Submarine has gone 19 matches without a win against Barcelona in the league, with its last win coming all the way back in 2008. Barca have won 14 of those games, with five ending in draws.

Barcelona have come out on top in each of the last four contests and have won by a total score of 13-2. That includes their first meeting this season at the Camp Nou, when Barca won 2-0 in a rare game that Messi failed to score in. Although, he did set up Carles Alena’s second goal, which sealed the win for Barca.

Betting Tip

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Villarreal vs Barcelona Correct Score 1-1 @ 8.00
April 03, 03:30 (GMT+8)

It doesn’t take an expert to know that the Villarreal vs Barcelona betting odds don’t favour the Yellow Submarine. Villarreal are currently priced at 4.60 to beat Barca with 1X2 betting.

However, it might not be completely out of the realm of possibility that Villarreal can slow Barca down enough to grab a draw. In the Asian handicap us has Villarreal +1.25 priced at 1.68.

Obviously, Villarreal are still stuck in a relegation scrap and will be fighting tooth and nail to get a positive result at home.

Meanwhile, Barca are just coming off an emotional win at home in the derby and could also be looking ahead to their big top-of-the-table clash against Atletico Madrid this upcoming weekend. The looming showdown with Atletico might just cause Barca’s focus to waver and allow Villarreal to capitalize.

If you think this may actually come to fruition, the draw is priced at 4.20, with the correct score of 1-1 an intriguing 8.25.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Bhoys win ill-tempered clash

Celtic survived a second half fightback, in more ways than one, from Rangers as they sneaked a late 2-1 win at Parkhead to inch close to another Scottish Premiership title.

The Home side bossed the first half and went ahead when Odsonne Edouard took a pass from James Forrest on half-way and danced away before beating Allan McGregor.

The same combination linked up to provide the winner four minutes from the end, Forrest ice-cool with his low finish after a mistake from 'Gers skipper James Tavernier handed Celtic the initiative.

But that barely scratched the surface of what was a tempestuous Old Firm occasion.

Alfredo Morelos earned his fifth red card of the season when he swung an elbow at Scott Brown before half-time. Rangers rallied with ten men and deservedly levelled when Ryan Kent skipped away from the Hoops cover on 63 minutes.

It became ten against ten when Dedryck Boyata went off injured after Neil Lennon had used all his substitutions and Ryan Jack spurned a glorious chance to put Rangers ahead with a quarter of an hour left.

As it was, Forrest was the match-winner and Rangers goalscorer Kent was fortunate not to see red when he appeared to punch Brown before the game restarted.

There were further ugly scenes at the end, Brown this time being involved in an altercation with Andy Halliday as he celebrated Celtic's win.

Lennon paid tribute to French youngster Edouard, Celtic's record signing last summer.

"Rangers' goal made everyone a little anxious. We should have been on the front foot but it was all or nothing for them (Rangers) today," he said.

"At 1-0 the game's always in the balance even against 10 men. We looked a little naive at times but we re-galvanised and scored a great goal to win.

"I thought Odsonne Edouard was the best player on the pitch by a country mile."

For Gerrard there was frustration that his leading goalscorer once again failed to keep a lid on his temper.

"Obviously he's been provoked in the first place but it's happened on too many occasions now and I've gone above and beyond – I've backed Alfredo more than enough and I can't defend him anymore. He'll be punished internally for it and we'll move forward," said the Light Blues boss.

Celtic are 1/6 to win at St Mirren on Wednesday evening, with Rangers 11/20 to bounce back by defeating Hearts at Ibrox.

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Benitez eyes top-half finish

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has set his players the target of finishing in the Premier League's top-10 again this season.

Five home victories in a row have virtually banished any relegation fears for the Magpies, who are 17/4 to draw at Arsenal on Monday.

Newcastle finished 10th last season and on course to replicate that feat this term – they have the same number of points after 31 matches as they had at the same stage of the 2017/18 campaign.

Benitez said: "If we do well, we can finish 10th again if we do more or less the same between now and the end of the season.

"At the moment, we are fine and I have read some players talking about that [finishing 10th], so we will see if we are safe enough, where we can go.

"We have to do exactly the same, try to get points in every game. At least we have this feeling of confidence because we are doing well. The team are doing a lot of things with more confidence and we have more chances and then we are more of a threat in attack.

"Why? Because the players know each other much better, they know exactly what we are trying to do."

Salomon Rondon is 3/1 to score at any time on Monday for a Newcastle side that are 15/2 to beat the Gunners.

Dyche: We’ve changed the story

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was thrilled with the way his side responded to the home defeat to Leicester City earlier this month by beating Wolves 2-0 on Saturday.

The Clarets had lost their previous four matches and appeared to be heading towards relegation but an early own goal by Conor Coady and a late effort by Dwight McNeil proved to be enough to defeat Wolves, who are 4/1 to win the FA Cup this season.

Burnley are now available at 1/8 not to be relegated this term.

After moving five points clear of Cardiff City, Dyche said: "It's a strange situation to be in. We'd lost four in a row and that makes a story, but we won this one and that probably changes the story.

"It reminds everyone that we've got 21 points, which is a healthy return from 13 games. We've got to do more but at Christmas we had 12 points from 19 games.

"I'm actually really pleased with how myself, the staff and the players have tuned in to this second half of the season and not over thought anything.

"We knew we had more and now we've delivered more but we've got to keep doing that. That's a really pleasing sign that the mentality is strong enough to accept a really tough one to take against Leicester, have a break, come back clear-minded and win."

Shaw: We need to focus

Luke Shaw is keen to gain revenge for Manchester United's FA Cup exit when they visit Molineux on Tuesday to face Wolves.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side lost 2-1 to Wolves in the quarter-finals of the competition a fortnight ago and Shaw admits the defeat was hard to take.

United were far from their best on Saturday but managed to beat Watford 2-1 at Old Trafford, a result which keeps their top-four hopes on track.

United are 10/11 to beat Wolves, who lost 2-0 at Burnley on Saturday, and 11/10 to finish in the top four of the Premier League this term.

Shaw said: "After that game, especially with me slipping, I was devastated and getting knocked out of the competition hurt a lot. We need to focus now and we need to put things right.

"Obviously it won't make everything better because it was a cup competition, but we're focused on making sure we get three points everywhere we go now until the end of the season.

"We need to get ourselves together again and focus on Wolves. We want to go there and get the win."

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored against the Hornets, who can be backed at 10/1 to win the FA Cup this season, while Wolves are available at 4/1.

Slow start baffles Hodgson

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson was pleased with his side's second-half display against Huddersfield but admitted things had looked bleak at the interval.

After a goalless first period, the Eagles eventually won the match 2-0, a result that consigned the Terriers to relegation and brought their two-year stay in the Premier League to an end.

Palace spurned a host of chances during the game and Hodgson admitted afterwards that his players would be given plenty of shooting practice before their next match against Tottenham, which they are 13/2 to win.

He said: "It was hard to recognise the team in the first half – we weren't sharp enough, we weren't quick enough to the ball, we made passing errors.

"At half time, things were looking bleak. So I must give our team an awful lot of credit for the way they came out in the second half. We made a couple of slight adjustments and in the second half we were much more like ourselves.

"Luckily, I can laugh the misses off, as we got two goals to win the game. I'm hoping that if we create have as many chances against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, we won't miss them."

Palace can be backed at 15/2 to beat Tottenham by a one-goal margin on Wednesday.