Bet of the Day: Salah to score first as Liverpool beat BayernPublished on: February 19, 2019Author: Antonia Kelly
Liverpool got all the way to the Champions League final last year, before the inevitable balance of the universe kicked in and ensured that Real Madrid won. This season, the Reds are in the last 16 and – if we’re reading the Premier League right – have a better side than they did 12 months ago. It’s fair to say that Jurgen Klopp’s side will be disappointed if they can’t win at least one large chalice-shaped trophy this season, and their bid to pick up the European version resumes this evening with a match against Bayern Munich.
Munich themselves saw their European dream ended by Real Madrid, going out at the semi-final stage as their usual defensive poise deserted them. Unlike tonight’s opponents, Bayern have been less impressive domestically this season than last. That said, just ask Real and they’ll tell you that it doesn’t matter how abysmal you might look in domestic competition – if you win at the right times in the campaign, you can be the champions of Europe time and time again.
Klopp Remakes An Old Acquaintance
A key reason why Jurgen Klopp ended up managing Liverpool was the impressive achievements he ran up while manager of Borussia Dortmund. He even managed to end the hegemony of Bayern Munich when it came to winning the Bundesliga – Klopp’s Dortmund side won it twice in a row, and also played Bayern in 2012/13 Champions League final. Things have changed in Munich since then, of course, but fans of “FC Hollywood” will still remember with a wince the times the now-Liverpool manager found a way to stop their juggernaut.
Liverpool 2019 have a lot in common with those Dortmund sides and, while Bayern usually find a way to beat the best in Germany (usually, it involves signing their rivals’ best players), it’s an unavoidable fact that they don’t enjoy being put under pressure. The Munich defence has been prone to errors this season, and it’s not hard to see them being forced into an early mistake by Klopp’s gegenpressing tactics. Betway have Liverpool at 31/40 to score first, and that’s a decent price considering the Reds will be fresh after a weekend off.
Salah To Open The Scoring?
After Bayern’s semi-final exit last season, there was a higher-than-usual level of criticism thrown the way of their centre-forward Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker’s finishing ability is not in doubt, as his scoring record over the years proves. He’s notched 13 in the league, one off the Bundesliga lead, and his eight notches in the group stage of this competition are a major reason why Bayern won their pool. The criticism levelled at him, however, comes from his purported tendency to “go missing” in the bigger games.
Against Real, that criticism certainly seemed justified. With Bayern eliminated 4-3 on aggregate, not one of their goals across the 180 minutes came from “The Body”, with defender Josh Kimmich proving more productive in front of goal. Against this backdrop, and facing a huge game, the question has to be whether Lewandowski will perform; William Hill have him at 4/1 to score the first goal; that’s the same odds as Mo Salah, who has been less prolific in Europe, but consistently scored in important matches this season. Salah, at 4/1, is our Bet of the Day.
End-To-End Classic In Store
One undeniable fact about this meeting is that the teams involved are both capable of beating any opponent on their night – bookmaker markets regarding who will eventually qualify from this pairing have them neck-and-neck. This should be a game that sees both sides giving as good as they get, and we’d expect over the two legs to see plenty of goals scored. When the likes of Salah, Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, James Rodriguez and the rest of them are lined up, attacking football is always going to be on the menu.
In our view, there are few better odds out there than the 13/5 Ladbrokes are putting up for Liverpool to win with both teams scoring. The Anfield side have notable advantages in their favour – they last played ten days ago, while Bayern travelled to Augsburg for a high-scoring but narrow win on Friday. This game is at Anfield, and Liverpool are definitely better off morale-wise – Bayern are presently sitting second in the Bundesliga behind Klopp’s old side Dortmund having played a game more. It’s hard not to look at the hosts as clear favourites for this outing.
In many ways, having sides with the prestige and potential of these two clubs facing off at this stage of the competition is a shame. They’re both good enough to be the eventual winners of this competition – or, more conventionally, to lose to Real Madrid in the final. However, the draw means one of them must go out at this stage – and we believe that after a first-leg win, it will be Liverpool who prevail.
Bets of the Day
Liverpool to score first (31/40, Betway); Salah first goalscorer (4/1, William Hill), Liverpool win and BTTS (Ladbrokes, 13/5)