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Jurgen Klopp has not always appreciated the scheduling of English football. He was annoyed that Liverpool had to play Watford early on a Saturday afternoon after the recent international break and has argued before that the Premier League doesn’t help English teams’ chances in the Champions League with the way the fixtures fall.
Klopp can have no such concerns ahead of Wednesday’s match with Atletico Madrid. Liverpool played against Brighton on Saturday afternoon whereas Atletico, who have to travel to Merseyside, played Real Betis 24 hours later on Sunday.
On the basis of some of Liverpool’s performance against Brighton, Klopp will be very happy with the extra day to prepare for the challenge of Diego Simeone’s men. Liverpool’s body language was Klopp’s biggest complaint after his team threw away a two goal lead to draw with Brighton but from a tactical perspective it was the way they were too often overrun in midfield and down their right-hand side that was of most concern.
Atletico Madrid are a team still working things out but they have an enormous amount of talent and their infamous fighting spirit will only be enhanced after they lost to Liverpool a fortnight ago so we could be in for a pretty special match under the Anfield lights.
Liverpool 4/6 (Ladbrokes)
Draw 3/1 (Paddy Power)
Atletico Madrid 9/2 (Betfred)
(Please note that all odds are correct at time of article publication)
The Atletico Madrid fans inside the Wanda Metropolitano two weeks ago left with a real sense of frustration that their team did not get anything out of the match. Atletico finished the match with an expected goals score of 1.94 compared to 1.24 for Liverpool and yet it was the Premier League team who left with a 3-2 win.
That says a lot about the quality of Liverpool’s finishing which has been typically excellent this season. It also suggests that Liverpool got the rub of the green in places and Atletico fans will say that extended to the decisions in a match where Antoine Griezmann was sent off after scoring a brace and Liverpool were awarded a second half penalty which ultimately settled things.
As much as Atletico are highly motivated to put things right, it will be very difficult to do that at Anfield. Griezmann – who has just started finding some form since returning to the club – is suspended while injuries to some key midfielders means it will be tough for Atletico to exert much control on the game.
That could be good news for the neutrals though.
Atletico are playing with more attacking verve than previously under Simeone’s management. Simeone knows how much of a challenge it is to stop Liverpool’s forward players so could well decide to try and go toe to toe with the hosts. Liverpool were vulnerable to Brighton swarming forward in numbers and it could be a similar story on Wednesday night so we like the look of the 3/1 that Paddy Power are quoting on the draw.
Liverpool 1-0 @ 13/2 (bet365)
Draw 1-1 @ 13/2 (Betfred)
Liverpool 2-1 @ 7/1 (888sport)
Liverpool 2-0 @ 7/1 (Paddy Power)
Liverpool 3-1 @ 11/1 (Coral)
Liverpool 3-0 @ 11/1 (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool are very short in the betting to win Wednesday’s match. That is reflected in the Correct Score market where selections reflecting a home win dominate. The shortest priced option for a draw is 1-1 which is a best price of 13/2 with Betfred but could it be worth taking the 14/1 the same firm are offering on a 2-2 draw?
The double header in the middle of a Champions League group can be decisive in terms of which teams qualify but that is not the case in Group B. Atletico know that they have a good chance of qualifying for the Round of 16 even if they lose to Liverpool again which removes much of the pressure from Wednesday night.
Then there’s the strength in depth of this Atletico team. Whichever three forwards get the nod to start know that they have to impress their manager. Liverpool too have multiple options to fill their front three positions, each of them capable of winning a match on their own. We are expecting an entertaining match and the 2-2 draw looks a real possibility.
Mohamed Salah 13/5 (Paddy Power)
Diogo Jota 21/5 (888sport)
Luis Suarez 9/2 (Ladbrokes)
Sadio Mane 9/2 (Coral)
Roberto Firmino 11/2 (Betfred)
Divock Origi 13/2 (Betfred)
Angel Correa 31/4 (888sport)
Joao Felix 8/1 (Betfred)
Mohamed Salah’s incredible scoring run in consecutive matches finally ended on Saturday afternoon. He won’t be overly concerned to draw one blank and his relentless pursuit of excellence means it would be no surprise were he to return to scoring ways against Atletico Madrid.
Salah is the right favourite to open the scoring at 13/5 with Paddy Power. He grabbed a brace in Madrid and is behind only Sebastien Haller in the race to be the top goalscorer in the Champions League.
Atletico’s main threat could come from the mercurial Joao Felix who has played his best football of the season in the last couple of weeks. The Portuguese forward looks a good bet to score anytime at 14/5 with Ladbrokes.
The Draw at 3/1 with Paddy Power
2-2 Correct Score at 14/1 with Betfredield?
Mohamed Salah to Score First at 13/5 with Paddy Power