Liverpool motoring along
There are some pretty good teams in European football right now but I’m not sure there are many better than Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp has his team back to their best and there just seem to be more options in the squad now that allow him to deal better with injuries, fatigue and the odd case of a certain player being out of form.
We could pick a fair few players to highlight but the pick of them over the past few weeks have been Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The former is in the form of his life, though his goal against Arsenal at the weekend was admittedly his first in four games.
Alexander-Arnold is like having two players in one: he’s a fine defender but gets forward so much that it’s like having an attacker in the side, as well.
They’re four from four in the group and are already through but will want to finish with an 100% record.
Dragons fighting hard in the Group
Porto won’t see four points from four games as a particularly great return for their efforts so far.
Yet they’re still one point ahead of Atletico Madrid and four ahead of AC Milan. That’s because everyone has been losing to Liverpool and taking points off each other.
So, Porto will still believe they can get the better of the two other two in what is certainly one of the tougher groups.
They thrashed Feirense 5-1 in the Cup this weekend, won their two previous league matches 3-0 and 4-1 and sandwiched in between that was a creditable 1-1 draw in Milan.
So, it certainly won’t be easy at Anfield but they do come into the match in decent form.
I had to do a double take when I saw Liverpool were odds-against to win this match.
At home, seven points clear of Porto in the table and in fantastic form. Still not convinced it’s a great price?
Ok, in the last five games they’ve played Porto they’ve beaten them (most recent first): 5-1, 4-1, 2-0 and 5-0, with a 0-0 thrown in there.
So, they’ve won four of the last five, scoring 16 and conceding two.
That 0-0 by the way, was a second leg in Anfield after they’d won the first one 5-0 in Porto.
I can only imagine the layers think Liverpool are playing a weakened side here given they’re already through. But I’m not so sure that’s the case.
They’re at home to Southampton next in the league so not like they’re likely to rest half the team. Besides, there are quite a few injuries and injury doubts including Curtis Jones, Joe Gomez, Naby Keita and James Milner so Klopp may not have much choice but to play something like his best team, anyway.
And even if they did rest a few players, they’d probably still be more than good enough to win the game comfortably anyway. And cliched as it may sound, those given a game will want to make the most of their opportunity.
Either way, it’s far too big a price to turn down so just keep it simple: back Liverpool to win at 2.021/1.
Neco Williams may get a game at right-back instead of our mate Alexander-Arnold.
But then again, he might not, with TAA slotting in at right-back as per usual.
But the England may just get a rare outing in midfield if Klopp wants to see what he can do playing there, with many suggesting you might get even more out of him in that role.
Either way, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if he starts and I’m interested in the 23/10 he gets an assist.
Ten Premier League starts have yielded six assists, including two on Saturday and one the game before that. In the Champions League it’s three in four games, meaning he’s ranked fourth in the whole of the competition for most assists.
Given how much he gets forward from right-back, the quality of his delivery and that he now takes most set-pieces, none of these stats should come as much of a surprise.
He’s worth a punt; and remember that you get your money back if he doesn’t feature.
That Liverpool have conceded just twice in five games against Porto suggests the Portuguese have found this fixture hard work in terms of scoring.
So, you can take the 6/5 on ‘no’ that both teams score and combine it with a Diogo Jota goal at 9/5. He looked sharp on Saturday and scored so may fancy getting another against his countrymen.
The double comes to 8.33.