Liverpool v Midtjylland
Reds ready to build on opening win
Liverpool may already have played their biggest game of the group – the away tie against an Ajax team, who had the potential to stake a claim for the top two.
Despite riding their luck a little – the Reds benefitted from a heavily deflected own goal and former Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen hitting the inside of the post – Jurgen Klopp’s men did enough to bank the three points.
And they’re now in glorious position to make it six points out of six.
Since the 7-2 acid trip defeat at Aston Villa, the Reds have steadied the ship and victory over Sheffield United on Saturday night saw them end the weekend in second place in the Premier League table and only behind neighbours Everton on goal difference.
This will be Liverpool’s first experience of a European night with no fans but how much their 12th man is worth will only be known later in the tournament.
Midtjylland off to rocky start
A home game first up gave Midtjylland the chance to show they could bring something to the group despite being dismissed as makeweights.
Well, it didn’t exactly work out. They were 3-0 down to Italians Atalanta inside 42 minutes and ended up losing the game 4-0.
By coincidence they have a domestic record identical to Liverpool’s. Like the Reds, they’re second in the table with 13 points form six games, have won all three at home and have won one, drawn one and lost one on the road with a negative goal difference.
That’s where the similarities end though. The Danes did manage to draw 0-0 away from home in their play-off against Slavia Prague but nothing jumped out from that game.
They covered far less ground, had just five shots and there’s nothing to suggest they could Liverpool a problem.
Win to nil better a way of boosting Reds price
Liverpool have let in a strange amount of goals this season but they’ve kept clean sheets against Chelsea and Ajax and conceded a somewhat dubious penalty at home to Sheffield United on Saturday night.
In addition, with Alisson back in goal, the prospect of Adrian doing something daft is removed.
And after a 4-0 tonking against Atalanta, Midtjylland will be understandably anxious about getting a hiding at Anfield. In which case, how many chances are they realistically going to create if they play it safe?
With Virgil van Dijk absent, Liverpool are trying to build a new central defensive partnership with Joe Gomez and Fabinho and there already some good signs.
Gomez looks better on the left of a two and the Reds’ record with Fabinho at centre-back is very impressive.
BTTS surprisingly balanced
It’s a similar argument for playing ‘No’ in Both teams to Score. That’s just 10/111.9 and looks far more appealing then Yes at 21/202.06.
Repeat: A Midtjylland goal would be a surprise. The odds aren’t reflecting this.
As for Over 2.5 Goals, Liverpool may have to do it on their own so 2/71.28 is short.
In fact, there’s an argument that Under 2.5 at 3/13.95 has some merit if Liverpool got to say 2-0 and then just started making substitutions all over the place.
That said, I’d rather just back 2-0 at 15/28.4 if thinking along those lines.
Having saved some energy by taking them all off after an hour against Ajax, I think Jurgen Klopp will be happy to roll out the front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino again.
Firmino has picked up some criticism for his lack of goals – especially at home.
But he’s scored in two of his last four Premier League games at Anfield and also netted in Liverpool’s last home European game – the 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid (admittedly in extra-time).
Go back to the two seasons when Liverpool made the final – 2017/2018 and 2018/19 – and Firmino banged in eight home goals in those two campaigns.
Those are impressive numbers and enough to make me get on board.