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Rupert Wyman 15th Sep 2009 - 17:27

Liverpool hungry for the points against Debrecen

Liverpool face Hungarian champions Debreceni VSC in their opening Champions League match of this season's competition. The Reds are very short 1/10 favourites to take the points and begin their campaign in style.

Under Rafa Benitez Liverpool are far better suited to the Champions League instead of the weekly rigours of the Premier League. Since the Spaniard was appointed to the Anfield hot seat Liverpool have won the Champions League once and have looked threatening every year.

This time around doesn't look like being any different as they are 12/1 to go all the way and lift the trophy at the Bernabeu in May. But before we get carried away Liverpool have to first negotiate their way out of Group E.

The group is a tricky looking one with France's Lyon and Italy's Fiorentina dangerous opponents but Debrecen appear to be the whipping boys in the group and therefore Liverpool will have to pick up the points here.

The 1/10 will not be getting value punters out of their seats so it is elsewhere we must look for value.

Key to Liverpool's success in both the Premier League and Champions League are Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. The Spanish striker is 11/4 to open the scoring and 8/13 to score anytime but a better bet could well be a wincast of Torres to score first and a Liverpool victory at odds of 3/1.

Captain Gerrard meanwhile has scored nine goals in his last 10 Champions League games at Anfield and he is 10/11 to score. For Gerrard and Torres to score anytime you can get 21/10 which looks a good bet.

Another market of interest is the handicap, which gives Debrecen a two-goal head start. Liverpool to win with this starting deficit are priced at 10/11.

Debrecen fought long and hard to get here through so they will want to come away from with Anfield with a bit of respectability. The Hungarian side began their Champions League campaign way back on 15th July as they entered in the second qualifying round.

To get to the group stage they had to overcome Sweden's Kalmar, Estonia's Levadia and Bulgaria's Levski Sofia. In getting this far they are the first Hungarian team to do so for 14 years.

You can expect that the order of the day for Andras Herczeg's side will be to stick men behind the ball and to try and frustrate Liverpool. This could be a successful tactic with Benitez's side not the most creative of teams but nowadays they are much better in this aspect than they used to be.

Therefore I expect Liverpool to break the deadlock fairly early on. It is 11/8 about there being a goal between the 16th and 31st minute (8/13 for there not to be one) and those odds look good value to me.

A big asset for Liverpool when trying to break teams down is summer signing Glen Johnson. The rampaging right back has put in some impressive displays for the Reds already this season which have seen him get on the scoresheet twice already. He is a 11/2 shot to score his third of the season against Debrecen.

Benitez, in the build-up to the match, has spoken of Liverpool avoiding being complacent and he will be keen to lay down an early marker in this year's competition especially given that it is his 300th game in charge of Liverpool.


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