Two of the English Premier League's biggest clubs are in Australia this month, and the bookies are backing them to give Melbourne Victory and the A-League All Stars a hard time
English giants Manchester United and Liverpool are both set to start short-priced favourites in their upcoming friendly matches against the A-League All Stars team and Melbourne Victory respectively.
United - with their new manager David Moyes in charge following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson - take on the All Stars in Sydney on July 20 followed four days later by Victory's clash against Liverpool at the MCG.
However, England's two most successful clubs - who are busy preparing for the upcoming English Premier League season - are expected to have few problems, if the early bookies odds are on the money.
The All Stars-United match is in danger of becoming something of a farce after the three main attractions for the All Stars team - Alessandro Del Piero [Sydney FC], Shinji Ono [Western Sydney Wanderers] and Emile Heskey [Newcastle Jets] - withdrew from the game.
And Melbourne Victory stars Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan are unlikely to be available for either match due to Australia's commitments at the East Asian Cup, which clashes with the two high profile friendlies.
In contrast, United and Liverpool are both expected to bring near full-strength squads to Australia, with United boasting the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Rio Ferdinand while Liverpool's two superstars in Steven Gerrard and Luiz Suarez are also expected to take on the Victory.
|United and Liverpool to win at $1.35 and $1.34
||Back Victory at $3 at the line with a half-a-goal head start
So not surprisingly the English clubs are set to start unbackable favourites for their respective friendlies.
United - the reigning English Premier League champions - are paying just $1.33 at the TAB and $1.35 at Eskander's Betstar to beat the A-League All Stars, who are priced at $8 and $8.10 respectively, while even the draw is at big odds of $4.50.
And while the Victory under their highly respected manager Ange Postecoglou, who will also coach the All Stars against United, should be more competitive, the odds are similar in that game.
Liverpool are paying just $1.30 at the TAB but slightly better odds of $1.34 at Eskander's Betstar while the Victory are paying $8 and $8.80 respectively, with the draw priced at $4.50 at the TAB and $4.60 at Betstar.
However, with the Victory also in full pre-season mode and with the likely backing of a big MCG crowd, the home side could be value at the line at Betstar where they are paying $3 with a half a goal head start.
*Note prices subject to change