THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE knockout stages continue on Wednesday night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Liverpool's tie with Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool v Atletico Madrid | Wednesday 11th March 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
It’s all set, perfectly poised to be another epic Anfield night in the Champions League. Atletico Madrid should expect a cauldron as they enter Merseyside as Liverpool look to emulate recent comebacks against Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona as they look to hold onto their European crown.
It couldn’t be more perfectly poised for the neutral this one. It’s the usually rock solid defence of Atletico with a 1-0 lead to hold onto and the fact they didn’t concede an away goal in that game at the Wanda Metropolitano has made them favourites across the board with the bookies.
It’s been the first tough period of the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men but at Anfield this season and have only failed to win once in all competition, a phenomenal feat. Atletico, on the other hand, have been terrible on the road this season, winning just five times out of 19 possible attempts stretching over all competitions, scoring more than a single goal on just five of those occasions too.
You’ve come to expect such an approach from the ultra-pragmatic Diego Simeone. The fiery Argentinian is renowned for his defensive set up and its provided great success during his reign at the capital club for a good few years now but it’s hit a stand still this season with them failing to take advantage .
Atlietco pride themselves on their defensive organisation but it’s just not on par with the superb back five of circa 2016. Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Diego Godin have all long gone and it’s still a relatively new-look backline. No doubt Atleti will be camp inside their own half for most of the game and try play with the ball in front of them, in that regard the game dynamics do suit Los Colchoneros.
One thing Liverpool have been praised for this season is their adaptability to eventually winning against all types of formations and styles. They’ve faced many low blocks as the home team and this will be no different. It will be interesting to see if the visitors come out of the blocks swiftly and try and get a potentially vital away goal but that would be a risky move that could give the hosts ample space to be their destructive best.
It really is on a knife edge and if Atleti can score it does make it a tough task for Klopp and his side but they’ve came back from much larger disadvantages in the past.
All in all I expect this to be 10/11 each of two in the ‘To Qualify’ market, however Liverpool are odds-against at 11/10 (Betfair) and I think the value has to be with them – their history, near-perfect home form and their opponents poor away form. They will be backed by a special atmosphere that seems to always see them through even the most adverse of situations. Despite the current aggregate score I still expect the Reds to progress.
I’m also happy to dip into the player stats market and I like the look of Andy Robertson to have Over 78.5 Passes at 5/6 with Bet365. With the game set up as it is I wouldn’t be surprised if the possession stats are silly for this one and a few Liverpool player top a tonne in terms of passes.
Atleti will be camped in their own half and let the back four pass it around themselves. Robertson averages around 68 passes per-game but this isn’t set up like a normal game and the 4/5 quotes on coral on him to have 90 or more passes may mean there’s some juice in the current lines.
I’ll also once again put up fellow full back Trent Alexander-Arnold to have two or more shots outside the box at 27/10 with Coral on their BuildYourBet feature. He’s managed a shot in each of his last five games including three versus Norwich and four against West Ham.
I expect a few fouls close to the box from Atleti too which leads to free kicks, which he is on. With the visitors likely to be so deep he might test himself from open play too as I expect him to be well advanced again here.