Spartak Moscow vs Liverpool preview, betting tips and predictions: Reds to grab late win in Russia
Liverpool to win 2-1 @ 7/1 with Bet365
Draw HT/Liverpool FT @ 10/3 with Bet365
Liverpool to win by one clear goal @ 13/5
Suddenly, the pressure is growing on Jurgen Klopp. An opening day Premier League draw at Watford, only narrowly beating Crystal Palace, drawing with Burnley and Sevilla and most recently losing to Leicester in the League Cup have all pointed to real issues with the defence, both from set pieces and open play.
Klopp has spoken about being ‘sick’ of conceding the same type of goals, but the truth is he must take some responsibility himself. The way he sets the team up offers very little protection to the back line, who are asked to push up to aid the trademark ‘gegenpress’, but there is no ball winner in the midfield. As for set pieces, that is down to organisation and poor concentration.
Given the manager’s comments in midweek, you’d expect things to change from Klopp’s point of view. Spartak are quite a physical side who will no doubt hope to exploit corners and free kicks as well as overloading the box with crosses. After his impressive display against Leicester, the Russians would be sensible to target Andrew Robertson. He was afforded all the space in the world at the King Power Stadium and had Liverpool been a lot more clinical, he could have made an even bigger impact. Stopping that supply line will not only mean Mohamed Salah will be isolated out wide, but it will also put pressure on Robertson to defend.
Liverpool are clearly lacking confidence at the moment because they are not starting games at full pelt as they do at their best. Granted, that usually happens at home, but after the nightmare start against Sevilla, they may come into the game slowly. With Philippe Coutinho on the pitch, Liverpool will have that extta bit of quality. Spartak will try to contain him, Mane and Salah, meaning they will have to be patient, but the hosts will tire and that will make it much easier to attack them late on – 10/3 is a very good price from Bet365.
It is hard to see Liverpool running away with this one in their current state, and their frailties at the back will always leave the door open for Spartak. A draw at 3/1 is a real option too, but if the Reds want to progress in this group, they need to beat these teams. It will be tight, but they should have enough.
Key battle: Andrew Robertson vs Quincy Promes
As mentioned above, Robertson was Liverpool’s secret weapon against Leicester and he may well be again in this game. It is crucial that Spartak mark him better than the Foxes did. But his desire to get forward could leave him short. Spartak do have some quality in attack, notably former Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano, and supplying him with crosses will be crucial.
Quincy Promes has a lot of pace and will be a huge threat on the counter attack, especially if given the space others have been given against Liverpool. Robertson could once again hold the key for the visitors, but he is defensively naïve at times and that could be exploited.