MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) assesses the odds ahead of Liverpool’s final Europa League group-game on Thursday night.
Sion v Liverpool | Thursday 18.00 | BT Sport Europe
Liverpool just need to take a point in Thursday night’s fixture with Sion to secure top spot in the group having already secured progression to the Last 32. The Swiss side are also chasing a draw to book their place in the knockout stages and therefore incentive for either club to chase three points might well be lacking.
The Reds have been held to stalemates in three of their previous five (W2-D3-L0) in Europe this term as well as eight in their most recent 17 Europa League ties. The Jurgen Klopp era began with three consecutive draws but the guests haven’t shared the points in nine outings and are perhaps now overdue.
Backing both teams’ to share the spoils is a 2/1 (BetVictor) shot and looks just the ticket considering Liverpool have lost just four times this term but are still searching for consistency under their charismatic new boss ahead of a busy Christmas schedule.
The Reds have blown Southampton, Chelsea and Man City away in recent weeks but also dropped a few clangers against Crystal Palace and Newcastle. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Jordon Ibe have all been ruled out for the midweek trip; Divock Origi is likely to lead the line with Jordan Henderson pushing for a start.
With four wins from five on the road, Liverpool will have their backers considering Klopp’s unlikely to set his stall out to consolidate but Sion are dogged opposition. Defeat for the Swiss side, coupled with a Rubin Kazan win in Bordeaux will see the hosts knocked out.
The home side sit sixth in the 10-team Swiss Super League and have tasted victory just once in seven. A last-gasp leveller was required in Bordeaux, they were far from convincing when scraping past Rubin and a touch lucky to pick up a point in Anfield in the previous head-to-head.
Further back it’s just three victories in 14 for the hosts. Prolific forward Moussa Konate is injured, as is Martin Zeman, Vero Salatic and Gregory Karlen whilst Birama Ndoye sits this one out through suspension. Nevertheless, Sion can dig their heels in and grab the point they require against a weakened Liverpool side that has their sights set on Sunday’s return to Premier League action.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that five of Sion’s last six competitive matches has seen fewer than three goals scored, while just one of Liverpool’s last seven Europa League fixtures has seen more than two goals. With that in mind, a wee interest in the 1-1 correct score is also recommended at 5/1 with BetVictor.
Sion v Liverpool – Draw (2/1 BetVictor)
Sion v Liverpool – 1-1 correct score (5/1 BetVictor)
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