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Why Liverpool’s Arsenal execution does make them title contenders

| 09.02.2014

Rarely has the opening 20 minutes of a Premier League match been so destructive. Liverpool’s four-goal assault on Arsenal at Anfield sealed three points inside half an hour, but also changed the shape of the title race.

Martin Skrtel’s brace, along with strikes from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, shocked Arsenal to a standstill and set Brendan Rodgers’ side on their way to a 5-1 win that reduced the gap to the top to just six points.

As far as Ladbrokes’ Premier League winner odds go, the result didn’t do much to alter the Reds’ tag as outsiders, with their price still in the double-figure region at 14/1.

However, the reality is that Liverpool’s chances of lifting the trophy are better than that. Their performances at home have been colossal this season, and the Arsenal decimation answered many questions over their ability to best the league’s big guns.

Both Manchester City and Chelsea, who sit four and six points ahead of the Merseyside club respectively, must visit Anfield before the season is through, which can put Liverpool back within striking distance of top spot should they win those meetings.

Rodgers must hope that both rival clubs drop points in other matches in order to overhaul them, but with this season throwing up more unexpected results than a positive male pregnancy test, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Manchester City’s free-scoring abilities have vanished into thin air having failed to score against Chelsea and Norwich in consecutive games, with their odds out to 7/5 for Premier League glory as a result.

Jose Mourinho’s side, who are 11/10 favourites for the title, still have to play Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal along with their fateful trip to Anfield.

Meanwhile Arsenal, the 6/1 third favourites, must show a great deal of character to come back from such a hammering, in a month littered with testing fixtures.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.