Early signs hint at profit in backing Liverpool to come third

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Despite the latter’s shock home loss to Stoke, you won’t find many punters willing to argue that anyone other than Chelsea or Manchester City will be seen holding the Premier League trophy aloft come May 2015.

The odds very much reflect this theory, with Chelsea installed as the 4/5 favourites and City their next nearest challengers at 21/10 to hold onto their prize.

The jump back to Liverpool at 10/1 is a leap that even the most athletic of flees would be proud of, Arsenal are at 12s, while money-seeping Manchester United are deemed 16/1 pokes and that’s where the realistic contenders end.

Therefore the market without Chelsea and City makes for an intriguing one, between the three traditional juggernauts of English football.

In similar fashion Liverpool lead the way at 6/4, Arsenal are 17/10 shots and United bring up the rear at 3/1.

On the early evidence it would appear last season’s runners-up are very much in the driving seat to claim this spot – even though they have lost their best player and already lost at the Etihad.

In spite of Luis Suarez leaving and falling foul of a clinical City win at the Etihad, the Reds are the only team who appear to have addressed their deficiencies of last season with a degree of certainty.

Dejan Lovren and Javier Manquillo look like shrewd acquisition to add sturdiness to a wobbly defensive unit.

Meanwhile, Alberto Moreno’s tenacity and raiding runs from left back are set to be a real asset in a problem position which has dogged Liverpool for years.

Going forward, Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic add exciting options in a team which never had a problem in attack last season anyhow.

Arsenal’s problems are obvious in two places and the signing of goal-shy Danny Welbeck won’t solve their dire need for a prolific striker to replace stricken Olivier Giroud.

Suddenly the Gunners look blunt up top and the choice of Mikel Arteta and Matthieu Flamini as holding midfield options simply do not cut the mustard compared to the Premier League’s finest.

Louis van Gaal could still turn around a difficult start at Old Trafford after securing some world class names at the end of the window in Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.

However, moulding the new players to his system makes bridging the gap to a slick Liverpool side in just one season look a pretty tall order.

There are also still question marks hovering over the balance of the squad and the absence of a true world class centre-back.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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