Rodgers’ Reds readying Real return to Anfield in Champions League
Liverpool, 33/1 to win the Champions League this term with Coral, can go some way to righting some wrongs from this season so far, as they prepare to welcome Real Madrid back to Anfield in the competition, the first time the clubs have met since the Reds’ rout in 2009, when the home side thrashed Los Blancos 4-0 as Fernando Torres starred.
Chances of a repeat scoreline are slim, and it is one that no doubt still aggrieves Real president Florentino Perez, who had just been elected back into that capacity, and spent £250m in the transfer window on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Kaka as well as Xabi Alonso from Liverpool, will be keen to rectify this.
It is far from likely considering the remarkable contrast in form between the two teams this season, though we are offering, perhaps what surely must be considered novelty odds of 150/1 on another 4-0 victory for the home side.
Carlo Ancelotti, however, is a Champions League specialist as form suggests so far this campaign, and he does have previous. Real have a 100 per cent record, sitting clear at the top of Group B with a positive goal difference of five, as they embark on a mission to retain the trophy they won for a historic 10th time in May, with them priced as 7/2 favourites to keep it.
For Liverpool, it could be an opportunity for striker Mario Balotelli to excel, and emulate the kind of performance Torres enjoyed five years ago. Odds of 11/5 say the enigmatic striker will score anytime, though he does like to perform in big games. The Italian’s lone goal this campaign came in the Merseyside team’s tussle against Ludogorets, in what was the Reds’ opening group game.
It will not shock punters to learn Ronaldo heads the scoring odds for the visitors, though surprisingly, he has never netted at Anfield, even during his six-year period as a Manchester United player. He is 7/2 to break his duck there and grab the opener, and finally shrug off the hostile atmosphere that no doubt will have got the better of him on previous visits.
New summer signing James Rodriguez opened his Champions League account last time out netting the last goal against Basel. To find the net anytime at Anfield he is 5/2, while striker Karim Benzema, who is tied with Ronaldo on two strikes in the tournament, is 6/1 to open the scoring.
Rodgers will be hoping England star Raheem Sterling can prove the media wrong, following a press backlash after announcing he was too tired to play for the Three Lions. The 19-year-old will be key to the way Liverpool approach the match, and is 10/1 to beat keeper Iker Casillas and score first.
However, it was Mr reliable, and skipper Steven Gerrard who dispatched a last gasp penalty at home against Ludogorets to win the match, and he is 10/3 to net anytime.