Liverpool can Withstand Roma Onslaught in UCL
It was a sensational two days of Champions League football last week, made all the better by this column landing winning bets in both games! We backed a Liverpool win and both teams to score, although even the most optimistic here at SBO didn’t predict the seven-goal thriller as the Reds ran out 5-2 winners over Roma. We also backed Real Madrid to earn a victory over Bayern Munich at very tasty odds and they duly obliged with a battling 2-1 win. Now we turn our attention to the upcoming second legs and it’s all to play for in both games.
Liverpool could and should have been out of sight when they led 5-0 at Anfield but two late Roma goals completely changed the complexion of the game. The Reds still have a strong three-goal lead but the warning bells are ringing out loud and clear after what happened in the quarter-finals. Barcelona thought they had an unassailable 4-1 lead when they visited Rome for the last-eight second leg but Messi and Co. were stunned as Roma pulled off a remarkable 3-0 win to squeeze through on away goals. Can they turn the tables again?
Real Madrid are on course for their third Champions League title in as many seasons and it’s an injury-hit Bayern squad which stands in their way of reaching the final. The Galacticos are rightly favourites to progress but memories of the quarter-final 3-1 home defeat to Juventus should be more than enough to quell any complacency.
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Roma v Liverpool
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It’s not in Jurgen Klopp’s DNA to sit back and defend a lead so it is unlikely that Liverpool will put eleven men behind the ball. They will surely be defensively minded enough to maintain a certain amount of discipline, but an away goal for the Reds could prove to be crucial. Roma are expected to throw everything at Liverpool to try and get back into this game, and as they have already demonstrated against Barcelona, they are a formidable force in front of their own fans. Liverpool were shaky away at Manchester City in the quarter-final second leg until Mo Salah’s goal settled the nerves, and it could be a similar story here. One goal could knock the wind out of Roma’s sail and would require them to score four to get through.
From the Italians perspective, it’s a carbon copy of the tie versus Barcelona. While they will clearly want to keep it tight at the back and avoid conceding, Roma find themselves in a position where they have to go all-out attack and that suits this side down to the ground. This tipster fancies Roma to score more than once on Wednesday night but thinks they will struggle to keep a clean sheet. A Roma win in which both teams score is a decent bet and a result which is likely to see Liverpool through to the Champions League final.
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
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Although Real are already leading and don’t need to win, they are up against an injury-hit Bayern side which may not have enough to compete on the night. Jerome Boateng limped out of last week’s first leg and is in a battle to be fit for the World Cup. Arjen Robben was also a first-half casualty at the Allianz Arena and those two join Neuer, Alaba, Coman, and Vidal in the treatment room. David Alaba is the one most likely to return for the second leg but whether the defender can make the difference is up for question.
Zidane will expect his players to be much more switched on this time around after they nearly squandered a three-goal advantage against Juve in the quarter-finals. As Bayern push forward in search of parity in the tie, Real can hit them on the break – just as they did last week in Germany when Asensio bagged the winner. Their form has been hit and miss this season overall, but odds of better than evens about a Real Madrid home win are surely worth taking.
Roma to beat Liverpool and both teams to score
Wednesday 2nd May, 19:45 GMT
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Real Madrid to beat Bayern Munich
Tuesday 1st May, 19:45 GMT
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