Norwich v Liverpool: Goals on the agenda again

Newly-promoted Norwich start their Premier League campaign with a tough assignment at home to Liverpool and Steve Rawlings fancies goals are on the agenda.

Covid-hit Canaries look up against it

Having finished bottom of the pile in the 2019-20 Premier League season, after losing their last 10 games in-a-row, Daniel Farke has guided his Norwich City side straight back up, winning the Championship in style by six points.

The Carrow Road faithful will be hoping the Canaries make a better fist of it this time around and losing only one of their better players, Emiliano Buendía, who's gone to Aston Villa, is a plus. As is the loan signing of the highly talented Scottish youngster, Billy Gilmour, from Chelsea.

With a heavy dependence on Teemu Pukki when last in the top-flight, who scored 42% of Norwich's Premier League goals in the 2019-20 season, it's good to see the forward line has been refreshed with three new signings - Josh Sargent and Milot Rashica from Werder Bremen and 19-year-old Greek winger, Christos Tzolis, from Paok.

None of their signings are heavyweights and Norwich look certain to face an uphill battle for survival. They're already vying for favouritism with Watford in the Relegation market.

The Canaries have also had an interrupted pre-season with several players going down with Covid-19. Here's what Farke had to say about the situation after their 3-0 defeat to Newcastle last week in their final pre-season friendly:

"Our situation in the last two weeks has been a difficult one. It was difficult to be really competitive today, we've only had 10 players who've been ready to go for 90 minutes."

Ruthless Reds ready for another red-hot start

In contrast to their hosts, Liverpool's pre-season has gone well with the Reds signing off in style on Monday night with an impressive 3-1 victory over Osasuna.

Andy Robertson missed the game after picking up an ankle ligament injury in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao and he'll be out again on Saturday. New signing Konstantinos Tsimikas should make for an able deputy and the canaries won't be happy to hear that the Reds intrepid trio up front - Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino - are all fit and firing.

Firmino bagged a couple against Osasuna on Monday but Salah is the big dangerman, given he's found the net in the opening game of the season in each of the last four campaigns, including a hat-trick against newly-promoted Leeds last season.

After a magnificent battle with the eventual champions Manchester City in the 2018-19 season and an extremely impressive title win in 2019-20, it was perhaps unsurprising that the Reds ran out of steam after Christmas last season. They finished their campaign in fine style, though, remaining unbeaten in their last 10 to claim third place when Champions League qualification had looked beyond them in March.

If Liverpool pick up from where they left off, then the home side are in trouble. The Reds have won their last seven away Premier League matches against Norwich. Odds of around 1.33 aren't too short but the value lies elsewhere...

Goals on the agenda again

Liverpool have a quite remarkable record of featuring in a high-scoring seasonal opener and since they began the 2015-16 campaign with a cagey 1-0 away win at Stoke, it's been goals, goals, goals. Liverpool's five opening Premier League matches of the season under Jürgen Klopp have seen 29 (19 for and 10 against), with the Reds unbeaten in all five (W4 D1) despite conceding three in three of those five games: 4-3 vs Arsenal in 2016-17, 3-3 vs Watford in 2017-18 and 4-3 vs Leeds in 2020-21.

These two teams met in the first game of the season two years ago when Liverpool beat Norwich 4-1 at Anfield and this fixture often produces goals.

It ended in a 1-0 win for the visitors on the last occasion the teams met, in February 2020, but there have been at least five goals scored in five of their last eight Premier League encounters and that's where the value lies on Saturday evening.

I'm more than happy to back both over 4.5 in the Over/Under 4.5 Goals market and over 5.5 in the Over/Under 5.5 Goals market.

Ordinarily, I would advise laying back potential profits if, for example, three goals are scored in the first half. But with Norwich so short of game time, I'm confident that the goals could continue to flow in the second half.

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