THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Last 16 concludes on Wednesday as Liverpool travel to Bayern Munich. Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) shares his betting thoughts.
Bayern Munich v Liverpool | Wednesday 13th March 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
I will be honest, I cannot look at the Bayern Munich line-up without thoughts of Serge Gnabry’s time at West Bromwich Albion. The German International couldn’t get in sides featuring James McClean and Craig Gardner. Then I recalled that Tony Pulis was our manager then and all made perfect sense.
Anyway, on to what is expected to be an excellent game in Bavaria on Wednesday night, with bookies unable to split them. I have followed the market for a few days now and haven’t seen much movement in what is very much a pick-em encounter.
Bayern have scored 11 goals in their last two Bundesliga matches but after much deliberation I came to the conclusion that if I was to back Bayern then I would be doing so on reputation as they have failed the eye test too often this season.
Both sides missed big players in the first leg so while a 0-0 draw was commendable, Liverpool – and Sadio Mane in particular – had their chances, and won the Expected Goals (xG) battle 2.2-0.5.
Liverpool’s performances away from home in this competition this season are slightly concerning but I take heart from the fact that they’ve played all five of their Big Six rivals on the road this season and have only lost on one occasion – at Manchester City, where I believe they were unfortunate.
Additionally, I like the look of Mohammed Salah at 37/19 in the Anytime Goalscorer market with Unibet. The Egyptian has looked on as his side has scored nine goals in their last two matches and he has failed to register. He also missed some big chances in the goalless draw at Everton.
I do, however, believe he is a man for the big occasion. He scored the winner to ensure Liverpool even made it to this stage and I am actually comforted by his xG stats. He has found the net 17 times in the Premier League this season but actually has a xG of 17.75.
In contrast, Sadio Mane has 16 from a xG of just over 12 but to the naked eye I would argue that Salah is a better finisher. The cream rises to the top as they say and I expect Salah to do exactly that tonight.