- Group E set to become a three-horse race
- Reigning champions Liverpool badly need their first points
- We breakdown the matchup and predict a winner below
Liverpool’s imperious start to the new season was punctured by defeat in Naples on Matchday 1 of the new UEFA Champions League season. They will look to rectify this in Matchday 2 – Wednesday, October 2 – when they host group leaders, Red Bull Salzburg, who got their own campaign off to a flyer with an emphatic 6-2 home win over Belgian side Genk.
Group E has now become a tricky one to call and along the way, there could be some good value on offer for the punters. We’ll take a look and see if we can find it.
Liverpool vs Salzburg Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Champions League|
|Liverpool||-1.5, -2 (-112)||-385||O 3.5 (-120)||+700|
|+1.5, +2 (-104)||+825||U 3.5 (+104)||+10000|
Odds taken on September 27, 2019.
The Napoli defeat was not the start Liverpool wanted in the defense of their title but neither was it unexpected. During the victorious journey that saw them lift the trophy last season, their trip to Naples also ended in defeat (and one of their poorest performances of the season), so defeat this time around was no huge surprise.
Jurgen Klopp was, however, at pains to point out that this season’s performance was on an altogether different level to last season’s and counted his team a little unlucky to come away with nothing.
But, despite the Reds creating chances of their own, it was a Dries Mertens’ penalty and a late Fernando Llorente goal that condemned Klopp’s men to defeat. Belgian forward Mertens’ penalty came after Andy Robertson was judged to have fouled Jose Callejon and then, in stoppage-time, former Tottenham forward Llorente capitalised on a rare mistake by Virgil van Dijk.
Klopp’s side became the first winners of the competition to lose the opening game of the next campaign since AC Milan in 1994 but, make no mistake, this is an exceptional Liverpool team which has started their domestic season with a 100% record. They appear unstoppable and have an unbeaten record at Anfield that stretches back to May 2017.
For Salzburg to win this, the world may have to tilt on its axis.
Liverpool vs Salzburg Head-to-Head
|216/394||Number of European wins / Number of games||90/186|
|700/1.78||Number European goals scored / Per game||289/1.55|
|336/0.85||Number of European goals conceded / Per game||219/1.18|
|13||Number of European trophies won||0|
|18||Number of domestic league titles won||13|
|23||Number of European finals||0|
RB Salzburg are Austria’s Liverpool, in that they are by some way the dominant team in domestic soccer this season, but unlike the Reds they were able to carry their league form into their Champions League opener.
A thumping 6-2 over Genk got their campaign off to an absolute flyer with teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland helping himself to a hat-trick on his Champions League debut.
The 19-year-old Norwegian – son of former Leeds and Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland – opened his account in the second minute and added two more before half-time to help give his team a dream start. He became the third-youngest player to score a Champions League hat trick after Raul in 1995 and Wayne Rooney in 2004.
With Hwang Hee-chan and Dominik Szoboszlai also scoring first-half goals for Salzburg and Jhon Lucumi replying for Genk, the 5-1 half-time scoreline was a Champions League record-breaker. Both teams added one more goal in the second half, making it the highest-scoring match in the tournament since Paris Saint-Germain beat Celtic 7-1 in 2017.
With US coach Jesse Marsch now in charge of Salzburg, their great start was all the more remarkable as this is their first UEFA Champions League campaign for 25 years. At home they look destined to be really strong – they have not lost any of their last 19 European home games – but it’s away from home where their fate will be decided.
Home Advantage Huge for the Reds
Anfield is a daunting arena even for the mighty and powerful – just ask Barcelona – but for Salzburg, this looks a massive ask. They will cause the Reds one or two problems going forward, of that I’m certain, but it’s hard to see them having enough defensively to thwart the wave after wave of Liverpool attacks that will come.
My pick: Liverpool to win 3-1 (+1100)