Our betting expert gives us three reasons why Liverpool can expect to go close again.
Favourable Group schedule
At first glance, Liverpool look to have gotten a tough draw with PSG and Napoli also in Group C alongside fourth seed Red Star Belgrade. However after the dates of Liverpool’s six group games were announced, the schedule has actually turned out very favourably. Jurgen Klopp’s team begin their campaign with a home match against PSG, before they then visit Napoli on October 3rd. Matchday three, on Oct 24th, will see Red Star travel to Anfield with the return fixture on Nov 6th. The final two games will be PSG away on Nov 28th and concluding against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday Dec 11th.
Liverpool will have wanted to face PSG in their group opener given that the French side are still finding their way under new manager Thomas Tuchel. It takes new managers time to get to know their squad and make necessary adjustments, meaning that in the short term they can struggle against top sides such as Liverpool. Although Tuchel’s men have scored 13 goals in their opening four Ligue 1 matches, they have also conceded in three of those matches.
Napoli are also a side under new management and their results so far in Serie A, six goals conceded in their opening three matches, have shown they will need some time to adapt under Carlo Ancelotti.
Red Star Belgrade have been banned from selling tickets to supporters for their visit to Anfield on Oct 24th meaning an even tougher assignment for Red Star
These favourable circumstances could easily see Liverpool with a 100% record going into Matchday 4 and in a very strong position to progress as Group winners. The price specials on RedsBet have Liverpool at 7.00 to win their opening three group games.
A strong second half of season
Liverpool enjoyed a favourable draw in last seasons knock-out stages, most notably avoiding Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at the semi-final stages. Regardless of that draw, Liverpool were a team who performed strong in the second-half of last season and that was primarily due to the arrival of Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window.
This season, Liverpool have bought in the big names in the summer window allowing for more time to prove their worth in the second half of this season. Midfielders Keita and Fabinho will need time to learn the Klopp style of play and what’s expected of them. Goalkeeper Alisson will probably need less time to build the relationship with his backline but all the new signings will be playing and contributing at a much higher level come the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Other teams are vulnerable
Although this is a somewhat Liverpool focused preview, the fact remains that a lot of the main contenders for the Champions League have question marks over their ability to win it outright. The current betting on who will win the Champions League has Man City (5.50), Barcelona (7.00), Juventus (7.50), PSG (8.50), Real Madrid (9.00) and Bayern Munich (10.00) all ahead of Liverpool in the betting. The Reds are available to back at 10.00 and without doubt have stronger credentials than a few of those teams listed ahead of them in the betting.
Man City are a great league side but their system isn’t so well suited to knockout competition football. Their backline gives up chances that will get punished against top sides.
Juventus are third favourites based largely on their signing of Ronaldo but they play a system much different to Real Madrid so the anticipated influence of the Portuguese star looks to be overestimated.
PSG despite playing in a weak domestic league where they go largely unchallenged are a better bet to Liverpool?
Bayern Munich are an ageing side that will struggle to cope with the high pressure and pace of Liverpool.
The Spanish sides are the most likely danger to Liverpool come next Spring but at odds of 11.00 we can expect a decent challenge.