QPR v Liverpool: Mario Balotelli to score at any time – 2.23
The further loss of Daniel Sturridge is an absolutely crippling one for Liverpool, who were hoping to partner the England forward with Mario Balotelli – something they’ve only been able to do for an hour so far this season in the 3-0 win at Tottenham, their most impressive performance so far.
But all isn’t lost for the Italian, who spent the international break at the Reds’ Melwood training ground and has been making some encouraging noises about his new life on Merseyside. He might have got off to a slow start, but his first Premier League strike for his new club could come at Loftus Road.
Stoke v Swansea: Stoke to win – 2.47
Sunday’s later game is an intriguing one for many reasons, not least because it brings together two of the Premier League clubs are most difficult to read.
On their day both of these sides are great to watch, but Swansea’s early season optimism has faded somewhat in recent weeks. Stoke have already lost at home to Aston Villa and Leicester this season but they are a better side than those results suggest. They only lost at home four times in the last campaign and will expect to win here.
Stoke v Swansea: Peter Crouch to score at any time – 2.90
These days international breaks are just an excuse for Peter Crouch to rest those long legs, and after scoring two goals in his last three games – strikes which earned Stoke four points – he’ll have done so with a smile on his face.
The big man enjoys facing Swansea too, with four strikes in his last five games against them – all of which came in the space of three matches at the Britannia Stadium. He could be a banker to net.
QPR v Liverpool: Steven Gerrard to be booked – 4.00
Speaking of bankers, Steven Gerrard has been cautioned in each of his last three Liverpool appearances having not picked up a yellow card for the Reds in his 14 matches before that.
A sign that the pace of the game is proving too much for him? Some would say so, bust whilst he still maintains the authority which has served him so well in his career and his prominence in a Liverpool side who will be desperate for a win at QPR, he could find himself overstepping the mark and ending up in the book again.
QPR v Liverpool: Liverpool to score a penalty – 6.00
Gerrard’s influence on the game might not end with the referee’s notebook though. As Liverpool’s penalty taker he frequently found the net from the spot last season, but the Reds have only been awarded one Premier League penalty in 2014/15.
They are probably due another one, and if they are given the opportunity then Gerrard will be trusted to deliver from 12 yards – and he doesn’t usually disappoint.
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