Sports Betting Weekly

Liverpool v FC Basel

When: Wednesday, 10 December 2014 @ 01:45 (FINISHED)
Where: Anfield
Though half of the British contingent in this year’s UEFA Champions League have already secured their progression into the knock-out stage with a game to spare, Matchday 6 throws up a couple of pivotal fixtures for teams in the Barclays Premier League – and none is perhaps more crucial than Liverpool’s home clash with FC Basel on Tuesday night.

The Reds go into the final game of Group B knowing that only a win will suffice against the Swiss champions, and though manager Brendan Rodgers dismissed the concession of an avoidable late equaliser to Ludogorets Razgrad in Matchday 5 as “irrelevant”, his assessment doesn’t give the whole story when it comes to Liverpool’s overall chances of progression.

Having lost the reverse fixture 1-0 in Basel, Rodgers is correct insofar as even if his side had claimed all three points against the Bulgarians, only a win at Anfield would have seen them safely through as group runners-up, but it doesn’t account for the psychological damage that more dropped points may have done to a team that has only won one of their previous five CL matches.

As such his side will go into their crunch match on Tuesday in brittle confidence – and with every minute a Liverpool side shorn of the striking talents of the injured Daniel Sturridge goes without scoring in front of an expectant Anfield crowd, that problem is likely to be exacerbated. True, the home side are still priced as favourites for the clash at 7/10, but their opponents are no slouches when it comes to European football, as both Chelsea and Tottenham can attest in recent years.

With the Reds forced to go on the offensive, the Swiss side are set up perfectly to soak up the pressure and use the pace of Derlis Gonzalez and Breel Embolo to get behind a Liverpool defence that has conceded in each of their previous two home games in the competition, making 21/20 on both teams scoring and 3/4 on there being over 2.5 goals attractive punts for the neutral bettor. That being said, these are the nights that Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, has thrived on in years gone by – and with spot-kick duties in his locker and Rodgers seemingly resting his skipper for the big occasions like these, 6/1 on Liverpool to score a penalty looks the value bet of the night.