MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) analyses the odds for Liverpool’s crucial Europa League clash with Dortmund on Thursday night.
Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund | Thursday 20.05 | BT Sport Europe
The sense of excitement and anticipation around Liverpool is almost tangible ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final second leg. With the tie perfectly poised following last week’s 1-1 draw in Germany, we’re all expecting another humdinger at Anfield.
Any feeling of trepidation amongst the Merseysiders ranks at taking on the free-scoring Bundesliga high-flyers subsided after the manner in which the Reds performed with such a swagger in the first leg.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges produced a polished and pristine performance in the Westfalenstadion that could easily have been turned into a victory but for Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller’s heroics.
Dortmund appeared overwhelmed by the occasion and emotion in the first fixture; Die Schwarzgelben were nervous, jittery and nowhere near the form that’s seen them record W14-D4-L0 since Christmas. But the Bundesliga boys have made no bones about their intentions in the lead-up to Thursday.
BVB’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said, “the Europa League is our top-ranking priority” whilst Tuchel himself confirmed, “If I had to choose, I want to progress in the Europa League,” when asked on German TV prior to Sunday’s derby date with Schalke.
The Dortmund boss made eight changes to the team that were held by Liverpool last week, leaving his big guns rested for the Revierderby ahead of the Anfield encounter. In doing so, the Germans more or less surrendered in the battle for the Bundesliga title and put all their eggs in the Europa League basket.
History is certainly against Die Schwarzgelben – Dortmund have been eliminated on five of the six occasions they’ve drawn the first leg of a European tie on home soil whilst Liverpool have progressed from 11 of their last 12 ties in which they’ve drawn the first fixture on their travels.
What’s more, teams that have picked up score draws in the first leg of an away Europa League quarter or semi-final since 2003/04 boast a W6-D6-L1 record when returning home. And at Anfield, the Merseysiders are unbeaten against German opposition in 13 (W10-D3-L0), shipping just a solitary goal.
Under Klopp’s charge, the hosts have W4-D5-L0 in continental ties this term and exceeded expectations when taking on their toughest tests; Liverpool have welcomed the Premier League’s top four under the German, beating Leicester and Man City while picking up draws against Arsenal and Spurs.
The Reds have W13-D5-L1 in Europa League outings at Anfield since 2009 but drill down into knockout matches and their record remains impeccably strong – W9-D1-L0 alongside eight clean sheets.
Last weekend’s 4-1 thumping of Stoke made it 21 league goals in seven games for Klopp’s charges with Divock Origi grabbing a double to cement his likely place in the starting XI here. Meanwhile, Joe Allen should take Jordan Henderson’s place in the midfield three.
Dortmund were reduced to just a few chances last Thursday but Liverpool have still leaked in 10 of their past 15 encounters. I’d be very surprised if the visitors weren’t able to extend that record here and in doing so, level the away goals tally and take the imitative in the tie.
The visitors are still unbeaten in 2016 (W14-D4-L0) and have fired blanks in only four of their 48 games this season. In 2016, Die Schwarzgelben have already won away at Gladbach, Leverkusen, Porto and Spurs and no side has fired in more shots (196) in this competition this term.
But Dortmund do have a rather uninspiring road record in Europe having W3-D2-L3 in away knockout games since 2012/13, shipping at least two goals in five of those eight encounters.
Admittedly, the bulk of those fixtures came in the Champions League but even so, the Germans have failed to keep their sheets clean in five, as well as recording a solitary shutout in five Europa League away days.
Tuchel’s troops travel with almost a fully fit squad and Ilkay Gundogan’s return could prove defining for Dortmund – the team have clearly missed his spark of genius – and in a match that’s likely to be played at a ferocious pace in front of a boisterous Anfield crowd, I’d be reasonably confident BVB can seal a semi-final spot.
However, there’s little to entice in the pre-match markets and I wouldn’t be hugely surprised to see this contest go the distance. Ten of Liverpool’s 11 Europa League outings have featured fewer than three goals – five have finished 1-1 – and the prospects of a repeat loom large.
So I’m going to play a straight bat and go all-in on 4/6 quotes from 10Bet for Both Teams To Score.
Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund – Both Teams To Score (4/6 10Bet)
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