Europa League Preview Part Deux
Liverpool can take a huge stride towards qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win against Young Boys in Thursday night's Group A clash at Anfield.
These two sides have only met once before, in the reverse fixture back in September, when the Reds won 5-3 in Berne. Unsurprisingly, the hosts are favourites to triumph once again and can be backed at 2/5 to do just that. The Swiss outfit may be big outsiders at 7/1 but their 3-2 win away at Udinese, a team that defeated Liverpool at Anfield, cannot be understated.
With so much at stake in terms in terms of Liverpool's season, Brendan Rodgers will be tempted to put out a strong team. Luis Suarez, the Premier League's leading goalscorer, could take his place up front. The Uruguayan can be backed at 11/4 to open the scoring and 8/13 to notch at anytime.
In Europe though Suarez is trailing behind Young Boys' Raul Bobadilla. With four goals to his name Bobadilla is only one shy of the competition's leading scorer, Napoli's Edinson Cavani. He is priced at 15/2 to break the deadlock at Anfield.
Liverpool have faced Swiss opposition nine times in Europe , excluding qualifiers, and have only lost once (W6 D2) which was in their first ever clash with a Swiss side (1-2 v Servette in 1971). At Anfield, Liverpool are unbeaten against Swiss opposition, winning three and drawing one.
The William Hill Headline offer for this match focuses on Liverpool's leader and captain Steven Gerrard. For Stevie G to score anytime in a home win, we've enhanced the price to 3/1.
The handicap market here sees Liverpool -1 goal priced at 17/20 and Young Boys +1 goal at 11/5.
As with the game on Merseyside, Newcastle and Maritimo face each other for only the second time. The two teams played out a 0-0 draw in Portugal in the corresponding game, a result that can be backed at 3/1 this time around.
The Magpies have suffered just one defeat in their last six games against Portuguese opposition winning two and drawing three. Their form at home against teams from Portugal is even more impressive, in five meetings at St James' Park, the Magpies have never lost to a Portuguese team, winning four and drawing one.
The Magpies have suffered just one defeat in their last 14 European fixtures (excl. qualifiers), winning 10 and drawing three. At St James' Park, Newcastle are unbeaten in 22 UEFA Cup/Europa League games (W18 D4, excl. qualifiers), a run that stretches back to the March 1997.
It is understandable then to see why the Geordies are 4/9 favourites in comparison to the 7/1 for Maritimo.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is expected to welcome back his captain Fabrizio Coloccini and striker Papiss Cisse for this Group D game.
A win for Newcastle would guarantee their progression through to the knockout stages and a possible chance of silverware.
The William Hill Headline offer for this one centres around the returning Cisse, can he score in a home win? We've enhanced the price to 6/4!