Liverpool vs Norwich City

Liverpool vs Norwich City

A new Premier League season dawns on Friday when Liverpool, last year's runner-up, plays host to Norwich City, one of the newly promoted teams. Liverpool is heavily favored with a money line of -714 compared to Norwich at +1169. Even a draw is a long shot for Norwich at +697.

Norwich City may be new to the Premier League this season, but they are no stranger to the top flight. They've had multiple stints in the Premier League over the past decade, as recently as the 2015-16 season. The Canaries also won the Championship last season, so they will enter the 2019-20 campaign feeling like they have a chance to stay up.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is still chasing their first league championship since 1990. Winning the Champions League trophy last season certainly helped the curb the disappointment of finishing one point behind Manchester City in the league standings. But the Reds will be eager to get off to a fast start and make a push to win that long-awaited Premier League title.

A Little Tired?

One concern Liverpool might have ahead of the season is fatigue. They expelled a lot of energy during their title chase last spring and then had their season last a few extra weeks by playing in the Champions League final in early June. Key players like Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane also spent the summer on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, so Liverpool doesn't exactly begin the season as a well-rested team.

Liverpool also had a rather underwhelming preseason, for what it's worth. The Reds lost games to Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, and Napoli before starting to turn things around with a win over Lyon and a penalty shootout loss to Manchester City in the Community Shield. The hope for Liverpool is that a high-level game against City will break them out of their preseason malaise and have them ready to start the season the right way.

Won't Back Down

Most teams prefer to play a defensive style against Liverpool, but it's not a given that Norwich will sit behind the ball all game. The Canaries had one of the most lethal attacks in the Championship last year, including Finish striker Teemu Pukki, who scored 30 goals. Of course, he wasn't the only one who found the back of the net with regularity, as Mario Vranic, Emiliano Buendia, and Onel Hernandez are all capable goal scorers.

That being said, Norwich could have a tough time scoring against a Liverpool backline led by Virgil van Dijk. They were also vulnerable at times on the defensive end last season, giving up more goals than most title-winning teams. Against Liverpool, they need to make defense their top priority.

No Alarms and No Surprises

The Premier League can be unpredictable at times, but the season-opening game should go as planned. The Anfield crowd should prevent the Reds from feeling any fatigue and taking it easy on Norwich. Ultimately, the Canaries won't be able to play at Liverpool's level for 90 minutes. Despite a money line that won't yield much profit, bet on Liverpool to beat Norwich.