Can Liverpool FC overcome the loss of star defender Virgil van Dijk to a season-ending injury in their bid to repeat as Premier League champions?Photo by David Blunsden/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire
- After losing defender Virgil van Dijk to a season-ending knee injury, Liverpool FC have been bounced from their perch atop the Premier League championship odds
- The Reds now lag as +240 second favorites to defend their EPL crown, trailing Manchester City, who have vaulted to short -112 favorites
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends behind these rapidly changing Premier League odds
Liverpool FC’s chances of repeating as Premier League champions were dealt a severe blow during this past weekend’s draw with Everton FC, with their star defender Virgil van Dijk suffering a knee injury that is likely to end his season. Already struggling to duplicate their spectacular success of a year ago, the loss of the former UEFA Men’s Player of the Year has had an immediate impact on Liverpool’s position in the Premier League odds, where they have tumbled from their position as slim +139 favorites last week to +240 second favorites.
Manchester City have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Reds’ woes. The Citizens have reclaimed their perch atop the Premier League odds in the wake of van Dijk’s injury, vaulting from a +147 bet last week to -112 favorites to claim their third EPL title in four years.
Odds to Win Premier League
|West Ham United||+30000|
|Newcastle United FC||+75000|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||+75000|
|West Bromwich Albion FC||+200000|
Odds taken October 19, 2020 at DraftKings
Pressure Now On Gomez, Matip
A fixture in the Reds’ backfield, van Dijk was on the pitch for every second of Liverpool’s march to a Premier League title last season, with his steady play contributing to the club’s decision to not bring in a veteran defender to replace Devran Lovren, who departed over the summer for Zenit of the Russian Premier League.
🗣 Jurgen Klopp on Virgil van Dijk:
“We will wait for him like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail.” pic.twitter.com/jHBvzoAkG2
— Goal (@goal) October 19, 2020
Now faced with an immediate future with neither van Dijk nor Lovren, the pressure will be on Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to fill the void. Gomez has been a lightning rod for criticism during a shaky start to the current campaign that had already put him at risk of falling behind Matip on the depth chart. However, with Matip now dealing an unspecified injury, manager Jurgen Klopp may have no choice but to subject the young Englishman to a trial by fire.
Alisson’s Injury Woes a Massive Concern
Further complicating matters for the defending champions is the health of goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Named the best FIFA Goalkeeper of 2019, Becker has been unavailable for the club’s past three outings as he battles a shoulder injury, and his absence has been sorely felt, with the Reds going winless in each of those outings.
— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) October 19, 2020
While Becker is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery, any uncertainty surrounding his fitness would likely be a bigger concern than the loss van Dijk. Liverpool kept clean sheets on 13 occasions with Becker between the pipes last season, and have been a dramatically different club without the Brazilian star on the pitch. The Reds have piled up a spectacular 69-14-9 win-draw-loss record across all competitions since the start of the 2018/2019 when Becker starts, allowing an average of just 0.76 goals per match during that stretch. Conversely, the club owns a middling 14-5-7 record during that stretch when Becker hasn’t started, with their goals-against average ballooning to 1.80.
City Also Battling the Injury Bug
Manchester City have some work of their own to do to fulfill the promise as newly anointed -112 favorites to claim this season’s Premier League title. Winners in just two of their first four league outings this season, City come out of the weekend, six points adrift of the top of the EPL table in 10th place.
Guardiola has confirmed that Kevin De Bruyne is out for the “next games” with an injury.
Gabriel Jesus is also out.
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) October 16, 2020
The Citizens are also contending with injury concerns of their own, with midfielder Kevin de Bruyne sidelined for at least the next two weeks, joining forward Gabriel Jesus, who has been out of action since mid-September. The bright side for City has been the recent return from injury by Sergio Aguero. The club also enjoys a favorable league schedule over the next two weeks that features dates with West Ham United and Sheffield United before a highly anticipated clash with Liverpool on November 7.
Tough to Overlook Everton’s Fast Start
But while a City resurgence seems likely, it is tough to overlook the impressive start by Everton, who have stormed to the top of the league table during a red-hot 4-1-0 start. Powered by a breakthrough performance by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who leads the league with seven goals, and the steady play of new arrival James Rodriguez, the Toffees have gone undefeated in eight outings across all competitions this season, capped by Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Reds, but continue to lag well behind City as a +1800 bet in the EPL futures.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the first player from Europe’s top five leagues to score 10 goals across all competitions in the 2020-21 season.
He’s played seven games. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/9Q8KJwataO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 17, 2020
Without the distraction of European play, Everton can remain focused exclusively on Premier League success. And with a favorable schedule between now and a December 28 date with City, the Toffees have a golden opportunity to solidify their lead atop the table, making them worthy of consideration of a value bet to claim their first Premier League title since 1987.
The Pick: Everton FC (+1800)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.