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The odds for Liverpool vs Real Madrid have been supplied by the FanDuel sportsbook, where signing up will get you a $1000 no-sweat first bet.
Back under 3.5 goals and both teams to score when Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie this week.
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In the former, Manchester City beat them to the prize by a one-point margin. In the latter, they suffered a 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the final in Paris. Vinicius Junior scored the only goal of the game, with Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in top form to continually deny Jurgen Klopp’s side.
That loss seemed to have a lasting impact. It was widely held up as one of the reasons behind Liverpool’s surprisingly slow start to this season.
Going so close but falling short in both the Champions League and the Premier League was a psychological blow, and it may well have had an adverse effect on the team in the early part of 2022/23.
However, it is not enough to explain why Liverpool are out of the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, and eighth in the Premier League. They have at least begun to show signs of life.
It has been obvious for a while that Liverpool would not be challenging for the title, but back-to-back victories over Everton and Newcastle United have moved them to within six points of the top four. The best online sportsbooks now have them down as narrow favorites to finish fourth.
Those wins also give Liverpool some momentum heading into Tuesday’s match at Anfield. An element of belief has been restored to the camp, and although Klopp’s side are still not at their best, the Champions League gives them something to play for in the months to come.
More than any other club on the continent, Real Madrid defines itself by the Champions League.
There has never been a point in history where the Blancos have not been the most successful team in the competition. Madrid won the first five editions of the tournament, and their success last year made it 14 overall. The next best side, AC Milan, have lifted the trophy seven times.
In the five seasons between 2014 and 2018, Madrid won the Champions League on four occasions. Carlo Ancelotti, their current manager, was responsible for the first triumph. A core of players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, was present throughout.
But during that run, Madrid won only one La Liga title. They were officially the best team in Europe but not the best team in Spain. And that could be the case this season too. Madrid are the only Spanish side in the round of 16 of the Champions League. But they are not currently top of La Liga, and Barcelona are the strong favorites to win the title.
We are not yet at the stage where Ancelotti’s side will put all their eggs in the European basket. But Madrid know what it takes to go all the way in the Champions League, and that could stand them in good stead.
After winning Club World Cup 2023 earlier this month, Madrid have won back-to-back matches in La Liga. Like Liverpool, they appear to have put a mid-season blip behind them. This promises to be an intriguing encounter between two European giants.
For all that they have not been at their sparkling best this season, only four teams in the Premier League have scored more goals per game than Liverpool.
The Reds were prolific in the group stage of the Champions League too, finding the net 17 times in their six outings - an average of close to three goals per game.
At the time of writing, Real Madrid are the top scorers in La Liga. They have scored 46 goals in their 22 matches up to now, as well as 15 in the group phase of the Champions League.
It stands to reason, then, that this should be an entertaining match between two teams that know where the goal is. Liverpool have struggled defensively for much of the campaign, while Madrid will find it difficult to keep a clean sheet at Anfield. Both teams to score is therefore the way to go.
For the best value, pair that bet with under 3.5 goals. There is still a second leg to come, so while both sides will be keen to hold an advantage at the midway point of the tie, neither will go gung-ho on Tuesday.
All four of last week’s first legs featured either one or two goals, so under 3.5 looks like an astute choice.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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