We were treated to some real brilliance in last week’s Champions League first legs. Liverpool came rasping out of the blocks and were 3-0 up before Man City woke up and realized they were actually living a nightmare.
In Turin, a Ronaldo masterclass put Real Madrid ahead by the same scoreline- a game which featured one of the greatest ever Champions League goals. Zidane himself didn’t know how to react- one of the only people to have scored a better one!
That leaves us with two sides trying to protect a 3-0 lead this week and another two trying to overturn a three goal deficit and, fortunately for us, that can only mean one thing- GOALS.
First up, on Tuesday, 19:45 on BT Sport 2, is Man City v Liverpool. A lot has been said about how good City are and they will certainly have their backers at 4/9 (general) to win the match in 90 minutes. Their more optimistic supporters will even think about backing them to qualify from the tie at 5/1 (William Hill) but these prices look a bit skinny to us.
Liverpool have banged in seven goals against City in their last two meetings and, following City’s capitulation in the Manchester Derby on Saturday (having been 2-0 up), all of a sudden Guardiola’s charges don’t look as invincible as they once did.
Pep has spent almost a billion pounds in assembling his squad and he’ll be desperate not to add a last eight Champions League exit to their dumping from the FA Cup at the hands of Wigan Athletic. Is he Fraudiola after all?
One thing looks certain in this game- there will be goals. The teams who have had success against City this season have attacked their relatively weak defence, knowing the light Blues’ main strengths lie at the other end of the pitch. If, as expected, Salah can shake off his knock then City’s defence can again expect a busy evening.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Klopp attempts to park the bus and keep City out for 90 minutes, but Bet365’s 25/1 no goalscorer is certainly dismissing that as a possibility. The contrarians amongst you will think that price is worth a dabble.
Another possible scenario is City go at Liverpool, don’t find the breakthroughs quick enough, and get picked off at the other end when they throw everyone forward. That certainly seems possible to us, which makes 11/2 Liverpool to win the match a value punt.
When you turn to the correct score market, a few big numbers catch the eye. BetVictor are 40/1 Liverpool win 3-2 and 50/1 Liverpool win 3-1, which seem well worth a couple of quid when you consider the recent scorelines between the sides.
If you can’t see past another goalfest, Over 4.5 goals is 9/4 with Paddy Power and that price will surely attract some backers given that it would’ve copped twice in the last three times these two met.
On Wednesday, also live on BT Sport at 19:45, it’s the second leg between Real Madrid and Juventus at the Bernabeu. As mentioned, Real are carrying a three goal cushion into the fixture and the tie is as good as over. If you believe in miracles, you can get 70/1 Juventus qualify for the semi-finals (Betfair Sports) but it’s hard to see the Old Lady avenging last year’s final defeat.
One thing we learned from last week’s game is (if we didn’t know before), Real Madrid are quite a lot better than Juventus at the moment, particularly in this competition. Juventus haven’t sewn up Serie A yet as they’re just four points ahead of Napoli.
Real, on the other hand, are a whopping fifteen points behind Barcelona in La Liga and all their eggs are very much in the Champions League basket for the rest of the season.
To that end, William Hill looks wrong to oppose Real Madrid and their stand-out 8/13 Madrid win the match must be backed, it’s very unlikely it will still be there at kick-off.
Right, let’s talk about Ronaldo for a bit. You’d think the bookies would be running for the hills to avoid laying bets on his goalscoring exploits- but we still think there’s value out there.
Ronaldo has scored a massive fourteen Champions League goals already this season. That’s a goal every 58 minutes. He’s scored at least once in every game. He’s scored at least once in ten matches in a row, following his opening goal in the Madrid derby on Sunday. It’s not difficult to see what we’re about to tip up here.
You’ve simply got to back the following three things, they are all value and it gives us an extra incentive to cheer on the best player who’s ever pulled on a pair of boots in the Champions League.
Enjoy the football this midweek, and hopefully we’ll see you at the payout counter.
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