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Market Movers - Football: Liverpool drift for top four finish

With Liverpool dropping more points, Sevilla continuing their slide down the La Liga table and Lens maintaining their strong start to the season, we’re looking at some of the week’s biggest Market Movers.

After a lengthy defence of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive abilities in his pre-match press conference, how Jurgen Klopp must have felt to see his man flat on his backside as Leandro Trossard put Brighton 1-0 up.

The sturdy defence we’ve come to expect of Liverpool seems long gone. With the exception of their injury-plagued 2019/20 season, the Reds have conceded an average of 0.71 goals per game since 2018/19, and that’s up to 1.29 a game this season.

Dropped points for the fifth time this season – combined with Arsenal’s impressive win over Tottenham – has seen Liverpool drift past the Gunners in the Outright betting.

Klopp’s men were 7/1 not to finish in the top four prior to the season – that was cut to 10/3 after the defeat to Manchester United, and after back-to-back draws is into 12/5.

It will take an extraordinary comeback for Liverpool to mount a serious title challenge with City rampant, and Klopp may be more focused on ensuring Champions League football returns to Anfield next season.

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Only nine months ago, Sevilla were the nearest challengers to Real Madrid, just five points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s men with a game in hand, and 10 points clear of fifth-place Barcelona.

But from the halfway stage to the end of the season, Julen Lopetegui’s side won just six games, with 11 draws seeing them slip to fourth.

Unfortunately for the Andalusians, they’ve rather picked up where they left off, winning just one of their seven league games so far this season to sit a point above the relegation zone.

And while they’re surely too good to go down, the 150/1 for them to be relegated in pre-season is 33/1 now, and the 5/4 about them finishing in the top four is out to 12/1.

The Champions League hasn’t proved much of a tonic either, getting battered 4-0 at home by Manchester City, and drawing 0-0 at Copenhagen.

Their next game sees them face Borussia Dortmund at home before hosting Athletic Bilbao, and failure to win either of those may see Lopetegui out the door.

More positively, RC Lens are continuing their excellent start to the Ligue 1 season.

Unbeaten with six wins and three draws, only the slightly better starts of Marseille (23 points) and surprise package Lorient (22 points) and have kept them out of the Champions League places.

Franck Haise’s summer signing Lois Openda has bagged four goals, while Florian Sotoca is behind only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the Ligue 1 goalscorer charts with six.

After losing Cheick Doucoure to Crystal Palace in the summer, Lens had a net spend of -£18m going into the new season, but three clean sheets by one of those transfers – Brice Samba from Nottingham Forest – have seen them sustain their push for European football.

From 12/1 in pre-season, Lens were cut to 7/1 after the excellent 4-1 win at Monaco, and shortened further to 5/1 after beating Rennes a week later.

This weekend’s win over Lyon – which made it four straight defeats for the visitors – has seen Lens shorten to 6/4 third favourites for a top-three finish.

By Steve Freeth

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