Category Archives: liverpool

Champions League review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finals


The finishing acts of the first two quarter-final matches see Roma become only the third club in history to overturn a three-goal first leg loss into a win, and Liverpool is back in the semi-finals after a decade’s absence.

Roma 3 v 0 Barcelona

Champions League Review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finalsI was reading Alice in Wonderland to my 18-month old daughter last night.

“Don’t like it.” She said.

The scene that upset her was when Alice ate the cake that said ‘Eat Me’ and ended up too big for the room. Tears streamed down the girl’s face and flooded the room.

“Tears aren’t a bad thing,” I told her.

“Don’t like it.” She said again, as the book went tumbling to the floor like Alice the nosey parker falling down the rabbit hole.

My lesson, lost.

I should have taken her to the pub to watch Roma play Barcelona.

On a night when Barcelona took a 4-1 lead to the Stadio Olimpico, and Liverpool took a 3-0 lead to the Etihad, all the pre-match talk was of the Premier League champions-elect making an incredible comeback.

Roma?

Not on your nelly.

Before the teams lined up, Roma was a 250/1 shot to win the Champions League. Barcelona was the 9/4 joint-favourite.

And with good reason.

Roma entered the second leg knowing only three teams had ever overcome a three-goal first leg deficit in Champions League history. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna trailed the reigning champs AC Milan by 4-1, only to win the second leg 4-0 to go through 5-4 on aggregate, and last season, Barcelona trailed Paris St Germain 4-0 before winning the second leg 5-1 to go through 6-5 on aggregate.

There’s more.

Roma sits fourth in Serie A, 21-points behind the leaders Juventus, and on the weekend they lost to Fiorentina.

And let’s not forget, they would have to score at minimum three goals, and Barcelona had conceded that many Champions League goals in their last ten matches combined.

In contrast, Barcelona lead La Liga, 11-points clear of Atletico Madrid, and their 3-1 home win against Leganes on the weekend was the Catalan club’s record 38th unbeaten game on the bounce. They are also in the final of the Copa Del Rey.

No, my dear readers, this tie only had one outcome.

Unless, like my daughter, you believe in fairy tales.

The Romans needed an early goal, and it came in the sixth minute. Edin Dzeko proved too strong for the Barcelona defender as he latched onto a long ball before calmly slotting home. Patrick Schick missed a golden opportunity to send Roma into the half-time interval when he headed wide, but the 1-0 lead gave them renewed confidence.

The Roma faithful began dreaming in the 57th minute. Gerard Pique brought Dzeko down in the box, and after a chat between the officials, they gave a penalty, which Daniele De Rossi scored.

And then the place went mental.

82 minutes were on the clock when Cengiz Under whipped in a corner, and Kostas Manolas met the ball at the near post to flick the winning goal into the net surrounding the far post.

Tears rained down from the stands at the final whistle as the enormity of the comeback dawned on everyone. I am sure there were also a few tears on the pitch.

Roma moves into the Semi-Final of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1984, when, incidentally, they lost to Liverpool.

And guess what else happened last night?

Man City 1 v 2 Liverpool

The five-time European Champions could face Roma in the last four after beating Man City for the third time this season, coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad.

City has a team more than capable of overturning the 3-0 deficit they faced after losing at Anfield, and when Gabriel Jesus dispatched Raheem Sterling’s pinpoint pass as early as the second minute, hope exploded like a man achieving orgasm.

And then came the most controversial moment of the two-legged affair.

With 42-minutes on the clock, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz disallowed a Leroy Sane goal for offside when video evidence clearly showed James Milner was the man who set up the German.

Pep Guardiola was so incensed by the decision that he ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the man in the middle who promptly sent him to the stand to watch the second half as a spectator.

VAR?

I don’t think Pep will be complaining about it any longer.

The fact that it’s not in play in the most significant competition in the world is barmy.

City was never the same without their Commander-in-Chief at the helm. Ten minutes after the restart, a mazy run from Sadio Mane came to an end at the body of Loris Karius, but the ball fell to Mohamed Salah who chipped it into the net for his 39th goal of the season.

It was a pitchfork into the lungs of a City side who dominated the first half. Then, as City sped forward in search of a miracle, Nicolas Otamendi screwed up at the back to allow Roberto Firmino in to score his eighth Champions League goal of the season.

City loses for the third time in six days.

Liverpool will appear in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the first time in a decade.

The draw is on Friday at 12:00 (BST) in Nyon, Switzerland.

Here are the odds (courtesy of Bodog):

Real Madrid – 6/4

Bayern Munich – 2/1

Liverpool – 10/3

Roma – 10/1

Sevilla – 150/1

Juventus – 150/1

Comments



Source link

EPL odds review week 19: Liverpool v Arsenal, Swansea v Palace, Stoke v WBA


A look ahead at three critical ties in the English Premier League this weekend including Liverpool and Arsenal battling it out for Champions League points, and Swansea/Crystal Palace and Stoke/West Brom partaking in relegation six-pointers.

Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal +140
Liverpool +180
Draw +250

It’s the match of the weekend. But it’s not got the tasty edge of a title contention clash. Instead, the best these two ‘Big Six’ teams can hope for is to finish in fourth place, and a Champions League spot.EPL Odds Review Wk 19: Liverpool v Arsenal, Swansea v Palace, Stoke v WBA

Arsenal is kinda monstrous at home. Only Man City have a better home record that the Gunners and they have beaten Liverpool during their last three meets, and had drawn the two before that.

Olivier Giroud misses out with a hamstring injury, and although he is a benchwarmer these days, they will miss the Frenchman. He has the super sub vibe to him, and since smashing BATE Borisov for six, they’ve only banged in three goals in the last four outings. Shkodran Mustafi returns after recovering from a thigh injury.

Liverpool is currently sitting on that fourth spot, one point more than their rivals, and have been banging goals in for fun. Since losing to Spurs at the back end of October, Jürgen Klopp’s side has put together a 12-match unbeaten streak, scoring an average of 3.3 goals per game.

Emre Can returns from suspension, but Albert Moreno continues to play FIFA on the PlayStation because of an ankle injury. Daniel Sturridge is a maybe.

Both sets of fans ha

ve seen 20-goals in the previous four meetings, and so with Liverpool hitting the trend in that department, I’m going to pencil them in for a rare Emirates win.

Verdict – Liverpool win

Swansea v Crystal Palace

Swansea +220
Crystal Palace +135
Draw +210

 These two recently resembled the old couple sitting in their deck chairs, holding hands while the Titanic turned into a giant metallic erection before disappearing into the sea.

Crystal Palace donned a life vest after sacking Frank De Boer and bringing Roy Hodgson into the club, and the former England Manager has earned 17-points since his arrival, putting together an undefeated run of seven games, and three clean sheets.

Swansea looks to avoid drowning by replicating Palace’s fancy footwork. The itchy trigger finger of a board has sent Paul Clement into the wilderness (the third casualty since Garry Monk left in 2015), and rumours have it that De Boer is on his way to the green, green, grass of home.

Oh dear.

Swansea has only lost to Palace once in 14 games in all competitions, and the Eagles have not so much as plucked a feather from the Swans at their home nest. But history means nowt if you can’t score a goal. Swansea has only ten goals all season, fewer than any other side, and Wilfried Bony (who scored in his previous two league games), misses the tie after limping off early in their defeat at Everton.

With Palace not conceding, Swansea not scoring, and Leon Britton in temporary charge, I think the bookies have this one right.

Verdict – Crystal Palace win

 Stoke v West Brom

Stoke +125
West Brom +245
Draw +210

Do you know those phone calls you don’t want to take?

You know that the person on the other end of the phone (likely your mum) is going to bore you to death, but you answer it anyway?

That’s life for Stoke and West Brom fans this weekend.

With both of these teams staring down the barrel of an EFL Championship shotgun, it becomes the most critical 90-minutes of the season, and you can expect to see paint dry.

Unlike Paul Clement, the Stoke board wisely decided to keep Mark Hughes in his job for this crucial tie, but he remains the 1/2 odds-on bet to be on the dole queue before the new year settles into life.

Stoke has lost three on the tamp since beating Swansea at home at the start of the month, conceding nine and only scoring once. All told, Stoke has conceded 39 goals, more than any other team in the division.

West Brom began the season better than Man City with two wins from two and two clean sheets, and yet they haven’t won a single game since. The Baggie board sacked Tony Pulis, drafted in Alan Pardew, but the key hasn’t yet clicked in the lock.

Pardew is winless in his four games, losing half of them, but he has steadied the ship somewhat with two clean sheets. Pardew’s problem, like most sides at the wrong end of the table is a lack of goals. He only has one in 360 minutes of football.

Taking a look at the history books and the Baggies are a bogey side for Stoke. The West Midlands side has won four and drawn two of their previous six encounters, and Stoke has only won once in six home ties against their weekend opponents.

Verdict – A Draw (-2.5 goals)

Here are the rest of the weekend fixtures, and odds.

Everton v Chelsea

Everton +500
Chelsea -165
Draw +280

Brighton v Watford

Brighton +160
Watford +190
Draw +210

Man City v Bournemouth

Man City -1100
Bournemouth +2300
Draw +1000

Southampton v Huddersfield

Southampton -175
Huddersfield +525
Draw +285

West Ham v Newcastle

West Ham +110
Newcastle +260
Draw +220

Burnley v Spurs

Burnley +575
Spurs -200
Draw +305

Leicester v Man Utd

Leicester +340
Man Utd -125
Draw +260

Premier League Table

1. Man City – 52
2. Man Utd – 41
3. Chelsea – 38
4. Liverpool – 34
5. Arsenal – 33
6. Burnley – 32
7. Spurs – 31
8. Leicester – 26
9. Everton – 25
10. Watford – 22
11. Huddersfield – 21
12. Southampton – 18
13. Brighton – 18
14. Crystal Palace – 17
15. West Ham – 17
16. Bournemouth – 16
17. Stoke – 16
18. Newcastle – 15
19. West Brom – 14
20. Swansea – 12

Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)

Man City 1/33
Man Utd 20/1

Premier League Relegation Odds

Swansea 2/9
West Brom 11/8
Newcastle 13/8
Brighton 15/8
Bournemouth 5/2
Stoke 11/4
Huddersfield 3/1
Crystal Palace 4/1
West Ham 11/2

Comments



Source link