THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday night. Here Ben Levene (BenLevene96) picks out his favourite fancy from the match-up between Liverpool and Maribor.
Liverpool v Maribor | Wednesday 1st November 2017, 19:45 | BT Sport
In the reverse fixture two weeks, Liverpool ran riot in Slovenia as they returned 7-0 victors. The market has reacted massively to this with the goal line is set at 4.5 goals while on the Asian Handicap, Liverpool go off with a -3.5 disadvantage.
After the embarrassment last time out, surely Maribor will take all measures to ensure the same thing won’t happen again?
Liverpool are still without Sadio Mane while Phillipe Coutinho is unlikely to feature due to a hip issue while it is possible the likes of Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson will be rested.
Although Maribor held out beyond the 20-minute mark in their group games against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow, Liverpool tend to be fast starters. In Slovenia they were 3-0 up inside the first half-an-hour.
Each of Liverpool’s three group games this campaign have seen a goal inside the first 30 minutes. Klopp’s men have scored in the first-half of 11 of their 15 matches in all competitions this season, scoring in the opening 45 in each of their five Champions League games.
Like we’ve already established, the market is overwhelmingly in Liverpool’s favour and so it’s difficult to find the Reds backable in any market.
Question marks over team selection and the possibility of an overly-cautious Maribor may be enough to put you off, but if not, backing Liverpool to win the first-half by two or more goals with Betfair may be the shrewdest way to keep Klopp’s team onside at 1/1 (Betfair).
A possible spot of value becomes clearer when you delve into the anytime goalscorer market.
Georginio Wijnaldum can be found at 7/2 (Betfair), with the likes of Emre Can, James Milner, Marko Grujic, Ovie Ejaria, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ben Woodburn all shorter, despite having far worse goalscoring records.
Wijnaldum will more than likely play in a midfield three, operating as the runner who gets close to and beyond the front-three. Only Salah and Mane average more shots inside the penalty area than the Dutchman per-match in the league this season, while Wijnaldum also averages two shots per-game at Anfield in the Premier League this campaign, with only Coutinho, Salah, Mane, Firmino and Sturridge averaging more, all of whom at times operate across the front line.
Wijnaldum has seven goals in 44 games during his time at Liverpool and of his 18 goals since his arrival in England, all of them have come in home matches. Wijnaldum is far and away the biggest goal threat of any Liverpool midfielder yet goes off as the longest of the lot.
He’s around the 4/1 mark to score away at West Ham at the weekend which makes the 7/2 on offer this Wednesday even more appealing, especially when you consider his notorious record of scoring in home matches.
Given the market expects goals, backing Wijnaldum to find the net at 7/2 looks decent value.