THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE returns on Tuesday as Liverpool entertain PSG at Anfield on matchday one. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his betting thoughts.
Liverpool v PSG | Tuesday 18th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
When the Champions League group-stage draw was finalised, eyes were firmly fixed on Group C.
Many will see this pool containing these two along with Italian giants Napoli and the returning Red Star Belgrade as the ‘Group of Death’. However, both PSG and Liverpool are favourites to successfully ride into the knockout stages and they meet at Anfield for a potentially mouthwatering clash.
Respective mangers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel have had very similar paths en-route to becoming two of the most elite European coaches. Both had moderate playing careers, both excelled in learning their managerial trade at Mainz before moving onto Borussia Dortmund and then testing themselves in foreign climbs where they both currently find themselves.
Both clubs have eyes on winning this prestigious competition. The two sides have a 100% record in their domestic leagues from their opening five fixtures.
Reds’ record-breaking start
Liverpool were deserved winners at Wembley as they despatched Spurs 2-1, and with many suggesting Klopp’s men haven’t hit top form yet, if such a thesis proves to be true, then the red side of Merseyside have a lot to look forward to.
Defensively Liverpool have looked miles better than they did last season; the partnership of Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez has been superb with both having the strength, positioning skills and pace to deal with different types of strikers.
However, keeping a clean sheet against one of the most formidable frontlines in the world is going to be an arduous task for a Reds outfit arriving off their best ever start to a Premier League campaign.
PSG ready to unleash the big guns
Les Parisians were able to rest Neymar on Friday night and with Kylian Mbappe suspended they still managed a 4-0 rout over Saint Etienne.
Tuchel will unleash the two either side of Edison Cavani in a 4-3-3, which is likely to mirror Liverpool’s formation.
The French outfit have employed Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos as a defensive midfielder this season and it could be an area Liverpool look to exploit.
Look towards bookings
Young Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation since he came into this Liverpool side, but the 19-year-old seems to lack discipline. He’s already been booked three times this season and he is likely to be up against Neymar.
The Brazilian is one of the most fouled players on the planet due to his quick feet and ability to frustrate defenders with skills; the inexperienced Alexander-Arnold could well be suckered into battle with him, especially if the Anfield crowd get behind him to do so.
Alexander-Arnold is best priced 11/4 with Betfair to receive a card and that looks like an attractive alternative angle.
Back the hosts in an entertaining affair
Despite Liverpool’s strong backline, it’s hard to see PSG not getting on the scoresheet. The visitors have already racked up a +13 goal difference through five games in Ligue 1.
Having said that, Les Rouge-et-Bleu have conceded against Guingamp, Angers and Nimes so far this campaign and their defence can be got at.
Bookmakers seem to be all over the goal markets though, with only slight odds-against available for Over 3.5 Goals.
Liverpool look a tad short at 13/10 in the 90 minute market but I’m happy to boost that to 5/2 to get the hosts onside in the win and Both Teams To Score market.
Liverpool went unbeaten at home all season last term in Premier League and Champions League action and Anfield is a much more daunting atmosphere on a European night.
PSG have lost eight out of their last 11 European ties away to teams from the major five European leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1).