From the sublime to the….well. After torching Manchester United 7-0, it’s almost impossible to imagine how Liverpool could lose to Bournemouth next time out. That’s no disrespect to the Cherries, who had given Arsenal a mightily tough afternoon the previous weekend, but after walloping your local rivals by seven goals they’re an opponent you simply should not be losing to.
The flow of the game was pretty much trademark Liverpool this term: they dominated possession, created the better chances but simply could not put them away, and were punished by a defensive lapse – as you would expect at the top level.
The game might have panned out differently had Mo Salah not fluffed his lines from the penalty spot by firing wide. The Reds had been pushing hard for an opener all afternoon, and again had Virgil van Dijk not had a header cleared off the line – or Neto not made a fine save to deny Diogo Jota – things might have been different.
But football games are not decided on ifs, buts and maybes….
Instead, and not for the first time this season, the Liverpool defence decided to leave an opposition player completely unmarked close to goal, and this time it was Bournemouth’s Philip Billing who made no mistake to punish the Reds.
Afterwards, Jurgen Klopp described the defeat as a ‘massive knock’, and surely it will prove to be both to the spirit within the Liverpool camp and their hopes of finishing inside the Premier League’s top four.
On Wednesday, the thin sliver of hope that they have in the Champions League will likely be extinguished. They need to beat Real Madrid by three clear goals to even force extra time at the Bernabeu, and even just typing that out reveals the size of Liverpool’s task.
Liverpool Team News
After taking a few steps forward in recent weeks, Liverpool took an almighty leap backwards on the south coast. And you wonder how that will manifest itself in Klopp’s team selection on Wednesday.
He won’t have completely given up the ghost – that would be incredibly unprofessional, which is not Klopp’s modus operandi, and so he will surely still name a strong starting eleven.
It will need to be attack minded for obvious reasons, so we expect Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to keep their places, but there’s the unthinkable possibility that Virgil van Dijk might be given the evening off as he continues to struggle – Joel Matip being the likely deputy.
If anyone can summon up the passion and fight needed to overturn the deficit it will be Jordan Henderson, and he could be joined in midfield by Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic over the consistently inconsistent Fabinho.
Jota continues to impress in cameo appearances off the bench, however it seems likely that the preferred trio of Salah, Gakpo and Nunez will once again get the nod.
Real Madrid Form
The Galacticos were in stellar form in the first leg of this last-16 tie, with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema doing what they do best.
Mind you, they’ve shown some vulnerability of late. They shipped two against Liverpool in the opening clash of the tie, and have lost to Mallorca and dropped points against Real Betis and their Madrid rivals Atletico in La Liga lately.
Are those the faintest glimmers of hope for Liverpool?
Real Madrid vs Liverpool Betting Tips
These games are so hard to predict.
Liverpool need to attack but not in a way that is alien to their normal approach, while Real themselves would be foolish to sit back with a cigar on.
There will surely be goals at some point, with Liverpool rarely shy of finding the net and yet, perhaps, risking the threat of a breakaway or two at the other end of the pitch courtesy of Vinicius Junior and co.
So perhaps the goals route is the best option for punters, although you’ll only score odds of around 8/11 about Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals in a double.
As far as the result is concerned, who knows what this Liverpool side are going to do next? You can back them with a +0.25 Asian handicap at around 9/10, and given the greater emphasis on them securing a result here maybe that’s fair.
Given the nature of the contest, perhaps taking a dive into the team prop style markets is an option – Liverpool to have Over 15.5 Shots is available at 6/4.