THE Champions League continues on Tuesday as Liverpool entertain Roma in the first leg of their semi-final tie from Anfield. Dan McCulloch (@danmcc84) shares his best bet.
Liverpool v Roma | Tuesday 24th April 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
Before I looked at this game in detail, I was of the view that I needed to find a way of keeping Liverpool onside.
For a while I feel that the 5-1 aggregate scoreline against City flattered them, I was impressed with them throughout that tie and until the final 15 minutes against West Brom on Saturday, I believe they have looked fairly solid defensively in recent times.
Additionally, I was aware that Roma are 18 points behind a Juventus side I don't particularly rate. However, I looked at Roma's record in Europe this season and couldn't fail to be impressed.
Aside their eye-catching 3-0 victory over Barcelona that saw them reach the semi-final, they've beaten Chelsea by the same scoreline and also scored three goals at Stamford Bridge. Additionally, the 4-1 defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp doesn't tell the full story. They scored two own goals in that match and missed many good chances themselves.
Where Roma would be in the English Premier League is open to debate but I would argue that they are a better side than Arsenal and would feature in the top half dozen. Therefore, I was put off backing Liverpool -1.5 goals on the Asian Handicap when I saw that Jurgen Klopp's side have only covered this bet in two of their six home games against other members of the Big Six.
With my hunch telling me Liverpool win comfortably but data suggesting otherwise, I thought it best to swerve the outright market so instead looked at the Anytime Goalscorer offerings and there were a couple of players that took my fancy.
Sadio Mane is 15/8 with Paddy Power to score in 90 minutes and I believe that price is more than fair. Mo Salah has rightly received all the plaudits this season, but his 41 goal return makes him almost unbackable in such a market, with 7/10 the best price available.
Mane's tally of 17 in 39 games pales into relative insignificance compared with the Egyptian but he does seem to have saved his best for the Champions League. The Senegalese scored in Liverpool's 3-0 home victory against Manchester City in the last round of this competition and also managed a hat-trick in the knockout stages against Porto.
Edin Dzeko also seems a tad big at 199/100 with Marathon. The Bosnian is well known to English football, having spent five years with Manchester City and he certainly enjoyed his return earlier this term, when he scored twice at Stamford Bridge.
He also scored in both games against Barcelona and given that he has more than double the tally of Serie A goals than any other Roma player, I think it's fair to say that he's their most likely scorer. I will be looking to keep the 2-1 and 3-1 scorelines onside so am fairly confident these two can get on the scoresheet.
Liverpool v Roma – Sadio Mane to score at anytime (15/8 Paddy Power)
Liverpool v Roma – Edin Dzeko to score at anytime (199/100 Marathon)