Brendan Rodgers has been taking plenty of flack from all sides following Liverpool’s bizarrely bad Premier League loss at home to Aston Villa, but the Northern Irishman will rightly enjoy the fruits of last season’s labours when his side return to the Champions League against Ludogorets.
Rodgers’ hosts are 1/5 to mark the occasion by beating the Bulgarian unknowns, who can be backed at a Villa-ish 9/1 to win, while the draw is 6/1.
Such long odds-on certainly require us to dig down deep in search of Reds-inspired profits, so here are three things that all happened the last three times Liverpool played their first Anfield fixture of the season(s) in the Champions League.
Liverpool won to nil (priced @ 20/21 against Ludogorets)
Few things have been certain in life since August 2007. Death, taxes, and the Reds triumphing without conceding in their first home fixture of any given season in the Champions League are among them.
Having tonked Toulouse 4-0 when hosting back then, Liverpool saw off Standard Liege by a solitary goal the following term, then beat Debrecen by the same 1-0 scoreline the last time they featured in the continent’s top tourney in 2009/10.
A wide player found the net
It may sound rather incredible, but Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands World Cup wing-back Dirk Kuyt, who Liverpool bought back in 2006 following four consecutive 20-plus goal seasons in the Eredivisie, struck four times in the Reds’ last three Champions League openers.
The Fenerbahce veteran hasn’t been around Anfield way since the 2011/12 campaign, so who is Liverpool’s 2014/15 Kuyt?
With little width coming from forwards under Rodgers, it has to be new signing from Southampton Adam Lallana.
The England attacking-midfielder/wide-forward is 6/1 to grab the opener and 11/10 to score an anytime goal, which would be his first for the club.
Less than 3.5 yellow cards were handed out (priced @ 4/5 against Ludogorets)
The aforementioned ‘clash’ with Toulouse was clearly a tame affair, with the man in the middle not required to reach into his pocket at any stage of the 90.
Considering Liverpool’s other recent Champions League home openers featured paltry tallies of two and three bookings, going under looks the way to play once more here. Well, that’s what the trends say anyway.