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Liverpool could challenge for Champions League spot this campaign

| 24.08.2013

Even without Luis Suarez, early signs suggest that this could be the year Liverpool mount a serious challenge on the top four.

Brendan Rodgers’ men maintained their 100 per cent start to this campaign with a 1-0 victory away at Aston Villa and while the result was close on paper, Villa failed to muster any real threat to Liverpool’s goal.

Daniel Sturridge secured his second goal in as many games by rounding Brad Guzan and firing into the roof of the net from a tight angle. The ex-Chelsea man has proved he is more than capable of leading the line and should Suarez leave, Liverpool fans can be confident Sturridge will provide the goals. He is now 14/1 for the Golden Boot.

The Reds are 13/8 to secure a top four finish, just a touch longer than Tottenham who are available at 6/4. Spurs face a difficult test when Andre Villas Boas’ side take on Swansea.

North London rivals Arsenal followed up their midweek win with a much-needed victory over Fulham.

The Gunners, who are evens to secure Champions League qualification yet again, put in a very good performance against The Cottagers who struggled to deal with Arsenal’s creativity in the final third.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring after latching on to an Aaron Ramsey shot and prodding home from six yards. While Arsenal fans continue their pleas for a new striker, Giroud proved that when in the mood he is a threat to any defence. The Frenchman, who now has three goals this campaign, is 20/1 to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer.

Lukas Podolski completed the rout with two powerful yet precise finishes before Darren Bent bagged a consolation from the bench.

It would be unthinkable that Arsene Wenger will not add to his squad before the transfer window slams shut but as it stands, this could be one of the most competitive battles for fourth place in recent years.

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Matthew Mower