LIVERPOOL fans waved goodbye to the Premier League title weeks ago.
And they might have to forget about making the top four after Saturday’s game away to ARSENAL.
Our man Jim reckons Arteta’s Arsenal look good value to beat Liverpool[/caption]
The reigning champions are 6/5 favourites to get three points at The Emirates.
But the Gunners had a couple of good results before the international break and they look a value price to win at 21/10.
I doubt Jurgen Klopp will be anything less than 100 per cent focused on the game, but recent league wins against Wolves and Sheffield United have been minor successes in a season of failures.
Three points in London will keep them in the race for a spot in next season’s tournament, but their track record this season makes poor reading for anyone who fancies a sudden return to last year’s title-winning form.
Jim Delahunt delivers his top tips for the weekend ahead[/caption]
Fourth-placed Chelsea will almost certainly beat West Brom in the lunchtime kick-off to move eight points clear of the deposed champions.
And Liverpool might struggle to convince themselves that the gap can be restored to five points at Arsenal.
The Gunners drew 3-3 in their latest game at West Ham after coming from three goals down and their previous European success against Olympiakos and a 2-1 league win over bitter rivals Spurs have signalled significant improvement.
Add that to a 3-1 league win at Leicester and you have an side on the up.
Jurgen Klopp’s reigning champions Liverpool have struggled of late[/caption]
Mikel Arteta’s players have to fancy themselves after their recent improvement and punters can cash in on a Saturday night TV game a little less one-sided than Celtic against Falkirk.
LEEDS UNITED look multiples bankers to beat Sheffield United at a general 8/15 in the only game at 3pm and I’m sweet on the draw between Leicester and Manchester City at 5.30. Most of the Championship sides played on Friday, but Huddersfield against BRENTFORD was held over for Saturday lunchtime TV.
I’ve tipped ST JOHNSTONE to win at Dundee in one of our featured games at 10/11, with 11/10 ST MIRREN getting the vote at Hamilton Accies and LIVINGSTON backed to beat Raith Rovers at 4/9.
Rangers and Celtic are prohibitive prices, but KILMARNOCK should be good enough to land the odds at 2/9 away to Stenhousemuir, with DUNDEE UNITED looking good at the same price against Partick. AYR can also be fancied to deal with Clyde at 4/11 and my Scottish Cup six-timer with St Johnstone, St Mirren, Livingston, Dundee United and Kilmarnock pays out at better than 10/1 with most firms.
I wouldn’t like to get involved in Brora Rangers against Stranraer or Fraserburgh at home to Montrose.
Formartine are as short as 12/1 at home to Motherwell with McBookie and the 20/1 with some of the major firms might be way too big.
HEARTS will have Scotland keeper Craig Gordon back for Saturday’s game at Dunfermline and the Jambos can bounce back from a couple of recent shockers to at 19/20.
ARBROATH gave Inverness a real run for their money last week and Dick Campbell’s men can win the big Championship relegation battle against Alloa at Gayfield at odds of 10/11.
QUEEN’S PARK are at decent odds for a change as they face Stirling Albion and the general 4/7 looks worth including in multiples as Ray McKinnon’s side power towards the League Two title.
THREE Scottish Cup ties and two league games make up an acca at over 26/1. Selections are St Johnstone (10/11), St Mirren (11/10), Livingston (4/9), Leeds (8/15) and Arsenal (21/10).
IT’S a limited choice, but Leicester against Manchester City could be a value draw at 16/5, with the Foxes better equipped than most to test the Premier League champions-elect.
CELTIC VS FALKIRK
FALKIRK arrive at Celtic Park as big as 28/1 in places.
But the SFA’s TV partners need Celtic and Rangers on their channel and it’s time to make up for two semi-finals and a final without them in the Betfred Cup.
The League One leaders drew 1-1 with Dumbarton at home on Tuesday, but they beat Forfar 2-0 last Saturday and should give a good account.
A 1-1 draw with Rangers confirmed Celtic won’t give up the Cup easily and they are only 1/20 in some places.
Eddie Howe looks set to be the man charged with trying to wrestle the title back, but John Kennedy should be able to manage a Cup run.
Celtic should have more than enough firepower to make over 4.5 goals interesting at 23/20
RANGERS VS COVE
PAUL HARTLEY’S Cove Rangers side are second in League Two, with a tough run-in to come over the next few weeks.
But they look like making up the numbers on Sunday as Rangers supporters tune in to watch a goal-fest.
Paddy Power go a massive 66/1 about a Cove Rangers win and there doesn’t look to be any chance of the visitors repeating Brora Rangers’ Cup heroics against Hearts.
A new 12-month deal for Allan McGregor was another boost for Light Blues fans wallowing in this season’s title success, but the keeper should have an easy day if he isn’t rested.
The only betting angle which attracts me is Skybet’s 1/4 about Rangers scoring more than three goals.
DUMBARTON VS ABERDEEN
(BBC1 Scotland, 12.15pm)
DUMBARTON manager Jim Duffy has a relegation battle on his hands after Thursday’s third consecutive 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Airdrie.
The Diamonds, Peterhead and Forfar have dumped Sons on their own turf in successive outings.
Duffy will still relish the visit of Aberdeen, despite being 14/1 outsiders.
But Dons fans will see defeat being out of the question and I would expect them to progress without too much fuss at 1/7.
DUNDEE VS ST JOHNSTONE
THE Tayside derby at Dens Park might be fertile ground for a shock in some books.
But Betfred Cup winners St Johnstone have remained in great form and clinching a top-six place should add an extra swagger.
Dundee made us sweat to land the money at 13/10 last Saturday after James McPake watched his side come back from two goals down to beat Dunfermline 3-2.
Saints have only lost six of 17 away games in the Premiership and look good to win in 90 minutes at 10/11.
LIVINGSTON VS RAITH
RAITH ROVERS were superb against Dunfermline in midweek and they are no forlorn outsiders at 11/2.
Livi have already had a big cup final experience this season and Davie Martindale has top-six Premiership football awaiting him.
Another cup run shouldn’t prove too onerous and the Lions should have too much for Rovers. I’ll take them to win a tight game at 4/9.
HAMILTON VS ST MIRREN
THESE two played out a 1-1 draw last time out and that could make for an entertaining Cup tie with the league pressure off.
Two 1-1 draws and a 1-0 win at Hamilton for Saints in August suggest there won’t be much between the sides.
Jim Gooodwin will have felt aggrieved at only drawing last month and I’m taking his 11/10 Buddies to make amends, with Accies 2/1.
QOS VS HIBS
Monday, BBC1 Scot, 7.45pm)
QUEENS will have busted a few coupons at Tynecastle last week, but I’m siding with Hibs to progress on Monday.
Both sides will know their prospective opponents after Sunday’s draw.
Kevin Nisbet will be back in green after his midweek Scotland run-out and Hibs’ second-best away record in the league makes them look good value at 4/9.
LEICESTER VS MAN CITY
A RUN of 14 straight away wins will make City attractive to many at 4/7.
But Leicester’s FA Cup win over Manchester United was impressive and they’ve already beaten City at the Etihad.
That 5-2 win in September was down mainly to City failings which have since been eradicated, but Leicester have progressed as well.
Backing Brendan Rodgers and his side at 11/2 might be a little ambitious, but I can see both sides scoring and 16/5 and better for the draw looks a decent price.