Liverpool v Middlesbrough Betting Predictions – Back a Home Win with at 15/8 with SkyBet
On paper, it could scarcely be simpler for Liverpool. If they can beat an already relegated Middlesbrough side with just five wins all season and one in 2017 and they will reach the Champions League once again. The trouble is, it is the kind of game Jurgen Klopp’s men have struggled most in all season.
Steve Agnew will bring his Boro side to Anfield probably for the final time, with chairman Steve Gibson likely to look elsewhere for a new permanent manager in the summer. There is no pressure on the Teessiders’ shoulders, just like when Bournemouth, West Ham and Swansea made the trip, and all in all, Boro have enjoyed a decent defensive record this season. They will be happy to frustrate Liverpool, who are at their best in open games, which is why they are unbeaten against sides in the top six this term. It will be a challenge to force the issue on Sunday.
Premier League top-6 mini table— Squawka Football (@Squawka) 14 May 2017
1??. Liverpool (20)
2??. Chelsea (16)
3??. Spurs (15)
4??. Man City (10)
5??. Man Utd (10)
6??. Arsenal (9) pic.twitter.com/MQhZ2TUf1J
It is hard to bet on Middlesbrough to go all the way and cause an upset, but Liverpool played Newcastle on the final day of the 2013/14 season while challenging for the title and had to recover to win 2-1. We don’t think it’ll be plain sailing, and our Premier League betting tip for this one is a home win with under 2.5 goals at 15/8 with a SkyBet free bet.
The bookies are understandably offering very little value on the Reds, but as Sunderland showed at Arsenal on Tuesday, the smaller teams can make the bigger sides wait. Skybet are also offering 5/2 on a draw HT/home win FT.
But if you feel like backing the home team to win more straight forwardly, then we suggest taking a look at Betfair’s wincast offer of Liverpool with Philippe Coutinho first goalscorer at 7/2.
Middlesbrough’s biggest issue this season has undoubtedly been scoring goals, with the fewest amount (27) in the league. They also have the fewest wins (5) and only Manchester United (14) have drawn more matches than Boro (13). But as mentioned above, they have a sturdy defence, which is actually the best in the bottom half of the Premier League, with 50 goals conceded in 37 games.
Liverpool match now bound to be live on TV in the UK on Sunday; their 29th live (of 38) this PL season. A record for one club in one season.— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) 16 May 2017
Liverpool have joint second best attack, scoring 75 goals, but they have conceded 10 more than champions Chelsea and 18 more than Tottenham. Tellingly, though, they have only scored twice against the likes of Bournemouth, West Brom and Burnley at home, with their opponents scoring once in that time.
Given Middlesbrough have only just been promoted after seven seasons in the Championship this year, the head to head between these sides is not very relevant. But Liverpool did win 3-0 in December, while Boro took them to penalties in a recent League Cup tie.
This Dutch match up will be vital to the outcome of this game. Liverpool’s midfield is extremely important to the way they play, and Wijnaldum is the man who balances it in a box-to-box role. His energy and ability to time runs mean Liverpool always have players rushing into the box late, and it is de Roon’s job to make sure he cannot impact the game too much.
Georginio Wijnaldum: "If we do what we did to West Ham against Middlesbrough we will be in the Champions League so the prize is big." pic.twitter.com/bx1a9e5XjU— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) 16 May 2017
De Roon, Adam Clayton and Adam Foreshaw’s midfield trident is one of the main factors in Boro’s great defensive record, because they provide such a barrier to the defence. This is a huge reason why Liverpool may not have it their own way on Sunday.
Predicted lineups for Liverpool and Middlesbrough
Liverpool (4-4-2 diamond): Mignolet; Milner, Lovren, Matip, Clyne; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Lallana; Sturridge, Origi
Middlesbrough (4-3-3): Guzan; Friend, Gibson, Chambers, Fabio; Foreshaw, Clayton, de Roon; Fischer, Bamford, Negredo