Liverpool take on RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 knockout tie on Wednesday in an 8pm kick-off at Puskas Arena, Budapest.
The Reds lead 2-0 from the first leg, which was played at the same neutral venue last month.
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Jurgen Klopp’s side are marginal 13/10 favourites to win this match, but heavily odds-on at 1/9 to progress to the quarter-final.
Julian Nagelsmann’s outfit are 19/10 shots to beat Liverpool, with the draw 13/5. Leipzig are 11/2 to qualify.
You know we are living in crazy times when Liverpool were probably quite relieved that the second leg was moved from Anfield to Hungary due to German travel restrictions.
Indeed, Klopp’s side have now lost six home games in a row for the first time in their history, failing to win at Anfield since December.
On the flipside, they’ve won four of their last five away games including the first leg of this tie, so there certainly seems to be a mental block when it comes to playing at home at the moment.
However, Leipzig represent dangerous opposition either way, with Nagelsmann’s side winning six league games in a row to move within two points of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.
Two schoolboy errors by Marcel Sabitzer and Nordi Mukiele cost them dearly in the first leg, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane pouncing on them in deadly fashion.
On another day, though, the German side certainly should have had at least one goal to their name, with Christopher Nkunku and Hwang Hee-Chan both missing gilt-edged chances in the second half.
Two of my main plays are Leipzig-based. In their 14 games in all competitions since the turn of the year, Nagelsmann’s side have averaged 16.2 shots, not having fewer than 12 in any of them.
Given the fact they will be chasing the game, I’m surprised to see Leipzig at 11/10 (Sky Bet) to have 13+ shots. Betfair have this same line at 15, so there’s definitely value with Sky Bet.
Likewise, 12/1 is a big price for them to have 19+ given that they have managed this three times in their last eight games, including when they were 2-0 down against Borussia Monchengladbach at half-time before winning 3-2. This is essentially the position they find themselves in against Liverpool, albeit against a superior outfit despite the Reds’ recent struggles.
Another selection I consider to have value is Nkunku to score first at 9/1 (bet365). The forward has scored Leipzig’s first goal in their last two league games, top scoring for them in the Bundesliga this season. Alternatively, Nkunku to score first and Leipzig to win is 16/1 (Betfair).
Nkunku has landed at least one shot on target in 21 matches across the league and Champions League, making 8/11 (bet365) to land a shot on target look great value. Sabitzer appeals at evens (Sky Bet), too, given his threat from range. Both players tested Alisson in the reverse fixture.
In terms of a Bet Builder, there were seven cards in the first leg, but I wouldn’t expect the same with Clement Turpin officiating. The France referee isn’t bad for cards by any means, averaging 3.93 across his 28 CL games, but this drops to 3 per game in his six knockout ties.
However, he has shown both teams at least one card each in 18 of his last 20 matches in all competitions, so I will back this given the amount at stake.
Leipzig have earned 3+ corners in 12 of their last 13 league games, so I’ll also back this given they will be chasing the game.
Likewise, I’m confident there’ll be a couple of goals, as should Leipzig score first – as I can envisage happening – then they will almost certainly either score another or concede one in transition:
Over 0 Cards for Liverpool, Over 0 Cards for Leipzig, Over 2 Corners for Leipzig, Over 1 Goals for Both Teams Combined @ EVENS (bet365).
In terms of player cards, should Mukiele start then I can envisage another tough evening for the right-sided defender against Sadio Mane, with 7/2 (Betfair) representing good value for him to be booked.
Fabinho and Ozan Kabak could both be in the thick of things at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, too, so 13/5 (bet365) and 14/5 (Sky Bet) are both good value for card-happy players happy to take a tactical foul for the team.
Likewise, Kabak has made 2+ tackles in four of his five starts for Liverpool, so 5/6 (Sky Bet) is a good price for this to land once again. His opposing centre-back Dayot Upamecano has made 3+ tackles in four of his six CL games this season, and is odds-against at 5/4 to do so once more.