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Nic Ladds 14th Aug 2010 - 16:24

Can Liverpool finally get the better of a thin Arsenal side?

The best match of the opening weekend of fixtures pits two of the biggest underachievers of recent seasons against each other as the aim for elusive silverware once again.

Last season, Liverpool did worse than ever finishing a very disappointing seventh and only just qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

It has been all change since then with Roy Hodgson installed as new manager but it has been a long time since they weren't classed as top four in the betting for the league.

The season could barely start tougher for the new manager as an Arsenal side that did the double over Liverpool last season visit Anfield.

It isn't all negative for Liverpool though as the arrival of Joe Cole added to Gerrard and Torres staying for another season means this side certainly has goals in it.

Arsenal ended yet another season without silverware last campaign and yet Arsene Wenger was still handed a new extended contract.

Cesc Fabregas looks like he will stay for at least one more year which is a huge boost as Arsenal try to appease the fans with at least one major cup this year.

I fancy the home side in this match though, Liverpool look a decent price at 6/4, especially when you see the injury list that Arsenal (9/5) have to cope with.

Arsenal are without Bendtner, Djourou and Ramsey while Denilson, Song, Diaby and van Persie are all highly unlikely to feature. Cesc Fabregas is still struggling for match fitness but Wenger will surely do all he can to make sure he starts.

If this match was at the Emirates, it would be a totally different prospect but at Anfield, with the Kop right behind the team I think Liverpool could just edge it.

Where Liverpool might struggle is up front. Torres is expected to start on the bench so Kuyt and Ngog are likely to get the nod to start and neither are renowned as prolific. Ngog has bagged a couple in pre-season and Europa League qualifiers and is 13/2 to score first.

Arsenal are expected to hand new signings Koscielny and Chamakh (7/1 to score first) immediate debuts and both looked impressive in the Emirates Cup.

If both sides had their full starting elevens out, I would expect Arsenal to give them a real game but I just think the home advantage and stronger starting XI on the day will just help Liverpool to edge it.

I do expect a tight affair though, 1-0 to Liverpool at 13/2 is where my money would go. In the past this fixture would have been expected to produce goals but I think in this season opener, both sides could be nervous and the match will be a bit edgy.

My best bet on this match is Draw/Liverpool in the double result market at an impressive 4/1.



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