Big European nights at Anfield are extra special and one is picking Liverpool to defeat Villarreal in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday.
Only two teams – Crystal Palace and Manchester United – have beaten Liverpool at Anfield since Jurgen Klopp became Reds manager and, on their day, the Merseysiders are as good as any side in the English Premier League in spite of their eighth ranking. Liverpool have almost always risen to the occasion in massive matches under Klopp and the visit of Villarreal is its biggest game since the German succeeded Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool had more goal attempts than Villarreal in last week’s UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg and a draw would have been a fair result had Adrian Lopez not notched for the Yellow Submarine two minutes into stoppage time to clinch a 1-0 home victory.
Villarreal’s 2-0 Spanish Primera Division win at Valencia booked its berth in next term’s UEFA Champions League and it would have to go down as its finest divisional road result because, by and large, the Yellow Submarine have performed poorly against the league’s top teams. Villarreal is 0-3-3 away to the Spanish Primera Division’s other sides ranked higher than eighth, firing blanks in five of those matches.
BetVictor are offering odds of -133 about a Liverpool victory over Villarreal in normal time and it is worth noting that a 2-1 Reds win would delight the Yellow Submarine because they would qualify for the UEFA Europa League final on the away goals rule. Liverpool has a good chance of progressing at Villarreal’s expense, though, as the Yellow Submarine’s away statistics do not read well.
One is holding a pretty ticket on Atletico Madrid winning the UEFA Champions League and, therefore, one does not feel the need to back Atleti at odds on to eliminate Bayern Munchen from the tournament, particularly as there are several game-specific options that are quite appealing.
The most attractive option in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg between Bayern Munchen and Atletico Madrid is under one and a half Bayern goals at odds of +104 with Marathonbet. Atletico’s defence is the meanest in club football, so much so that Atleti have conceded under one and a half goals in 43 of their 47 Spanish Primera Division and UEFA Champions League matches. Furthermore, Atletico has not conceded more than two and a half goals in either aforementioned major competition since it lost 1-3 at Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division in January 2015.
Bayern Munchen had 69 per cent possession versus Atletico Madrid in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg so one does not expect the change of venue to result in a change of tactics – Bayern will enjoy the bulk of the ball and Atleti will absorb pressure and play on the counter.
Finally, a combination of Sevilla’s home numbers and the state of its UEFA Europa League semi-final tie against Shakhtar Donetsk lead one to pick the former to win Thursday’s second leg at odds of -137 with several bookmakers, including Betfred, Totesport and William Hill.
Sevilla warmed up its shot at making the UEFA Europa League final for the third consecutive season with 2-0 Spanish Primera Division home victory over city rival Betis. Sevilla is odds on to end its Spanish Primera Division campaign with zero road wins – it is 0-9-9 with a trip to Athletic still to come – but the Red and Whites rarely put a foot wrong at home and they can allow Shakhtar Donetsk to force the pace because last week’s first leg ended in a 2-2 draw.
Liverpool to beat Villarreal
Thursday 5th May, 20:05 GMT
Under 1.5 Bayern Munich Goals
Tuesday 3rd May, 19:45 GMT
Sevilla to beat Shakhtar Donetsk
Thursday 5th May, 20:05 GMT