Liverpool vs Maribor preview, betting tips and prediction: Reds to ease past minnows with home comforts
Liverpool to win 4-0 @ 7/1 with Betfair
Liverpool to win and Mohamed Salah to score first @ 3/1 with Betfair
Liverpool with a -4 handicap @ 12/5 with Betfair
Liverpool headed to Maribor in their last Champions League outing in a bit of a strange situation in their group. The Reds were chasing leaders Sevilla and in the midst of a poor run of form, struggling to score goals and conceding far too many. But a 6-0 win and Sevilla’s 5-1 loss at Spartak Moscow means Jurgen Klopp’s side are leading the way, albeit narrowly, and the Russians are now their closest challengers.
Facing Maribor at home would appear to be their easiest game of the campaign, and although football often doesn’t work with logic, Klopp will be expecting a second win at Anfield. There is also another opportunity to strengthen their goal difference ahead of a tough clash at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan against Sevilla next time. Liverpool are lacking a lot of creativity right now, with Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana among the long-term absentees in the squad. Philippe Coutinho also missed Saturday’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield and it is unclear whether he will return. That game required a lot of patience from the home side, with a missed penalty keeping the score at 0-0 until the second half, but Mohamed Salah did eventually help lead a victory alongside Daniel Sturridge and Gini Wijnaldum.
Without Coutinho, Mane or Lallana, there is a lot of pressure on Salah’s shoulders to take games by the scruff of the neck. The Terriers sat deep and absorbed a lot of pressure, and Salah’s missed penalty allowed that to carry on, but once Sturridge broke the deadlock, space opened up for Liverpool and they soon coasted to the win. It was a similar story in the Maribor game, or it would have been if Salah hadn’t scored within three minutes. From there it became easy.
But we are backing a repeat performance from both the team and the player in this one. The Egyptian will be aided by Coutinho’s potential return, but his pace and skill in the wide areas will make him a real threat regardless. His link up with the likes of Sturridge and Roberto Firmino should be too much for Maribor. We are backing 4-0 at 7/1, a home win with Salah FGS at 3/1 or even a -4 handicap at 12/5, but it all counts on an early goal for the home side, otherwise it could get frustrating very quickly judging on previous games.
Key battle: Gini Wijnaldum vs Damjan Bohar
With Liverpool’s creative influences seemingly dropping like flies, Jurgen Klopp may have to look elsewhere for ways to press forward. Wijnaldum is a good goalscorer as he showed last weekend, but he has become known for offering balance to Klopp’s midfield since arriving from Newcastle.
But his energy and late runs into the box can be effective, especially if Maribor set up with as little ambition as expected. Liverpool should have no issues winning this game whoever is fit to play.