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Nic Ladds 20th Dec 2008 - 15:46

Rafa can begin to make title dream a reality

Rafa Benitez will be hoping Liverpool can continue their good start to the season and remain at the top of the table but, despite leading the league, they find themselves as 21/10 outsiders.

Arsenal have a good record at home against Liverpool and will be looking to justify favourites odds of 11/8 while the draw is likely to be popular at 21/10 due to the similar abilities of the teams.

Recent matches between these two big four sides have often produced plenty of goals and this makes 11/10 about over two goals look a cracking bet.

Liverpool come into the game having won six of their last eight Premier League away games and will be confident of avoiding defeat.

Arsenal recorded excellent victories against Chelsea and Man Utd but have lost to some much weaker teams like Hull and Stoke making them a risky betting proposition.

Samir Nasri may well return for Arsenal which gives them a big boost as he was in blistering form before he got injured and will be looking to get back on track and is 5/1 to score anytime.

The Gunners' main threat will as usual come from Emmanuel Adebayor who at 6/1 for first goal will have his supporters as he has netted in his last two games.

He has able support in the shape of Robin Van Persie who at 7/1 knows how to find the net. Providing he can manage to stay on the pitch for the full 90 minutes will ask the Liverpool defence questions all afternoon.

Liverpool have been excellent on their travels but while they are solid at the back they rarely seem to score the goals they should.

With Fernando Torres out, Robbie Keane has had his chance to shine but the Irishman has been in woeful form. Talk of him leaving in January will do nothing for his confidence making 8/1 about him scoring the first goal not particularly appealing.

Liverpool's hero this season has often been the underrated Dirk Kuyt.

The Dutchman seems to have found a new confidence and while 7/1 last season about him scoring the first goal would have been laughable, it really does appeal this time round.

Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard is also 7/1 and will pose his usual threat from midfield.

Liverpool are tempting at the prices but Arsene Wenger seems to always get a performance from his boys against the big teams.

Arsenal will know that should they lose this game any vein hopes they have of a title challenge really will be dashed.

Liverpool will be desperate to keep up the pressure on Chelsea by taking maximum points.

While there are often goals in these fixtures there could be a nervy start with so much at stake and since Liverpool have much the more solid form they are fancied to sneak a result in what should be an entertaining affair. This makes draw half time/Liverpool full time appealing at 11/2.

This is the first season in a long time where Liverpool look like mounting a realistic title challenge and they players will be more than ready for this game as with Chelsea stuttering this is the perfect opportunity for Rafa to silence his critics and hand heap more woe on troubled Arsenal.

Draw half time/Liverpool full time - 11/2
Total match goals over 2 - 11/10

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