By William Hill
Last Updated: 6th November 2019
Matchday Three in the Champions League group stage continues on Wednesday night with some groups already looking significantly tighter than others in the race for qualification for the knockout stages.
One or two unexpected results is all it would take to turn some of the tables on their heads, putting some of the European heavyweights at risk. Here, we take a look at some of the evening’s key football offerings.
Liverpool to bounce back in Belgium
Liverpool dropped Premier League points for the first time this season at Old Trafford on Sunday as they drew 1-1 with Manchester United, and the reigning European champions will now be looking to put an end to a torrid display of away form in the group stages of the Champions League.
The Reds have lost their last four during the tournament’s group stages, scoring only once in that time, while they have won just once in their last 10. A visit to a so far poor-performing Genk tonight provides a stellar opportunity for them to turn things around on the road in Europe. Under 2.5 goals is available at 13/8, and while a goal fest may not necessarily be on the cards, it’s hard to see Liverpool, who sit second in Group E, failing to get the job done at the Luminus Arena, particularly with Mohamed Salah returning from injury and Alisson back between the sticks.
The Belgian hosts need something from this game to keep any ember of European hope alive, having only taken a solitary point from their first two matches to leave them bottom of Group E. It was a notable point though, coming against a Napoli side who overcame Liverpool on Matchday One. That said, the Reds have won six of their last nine European meetings in all and are on a five-match unbeaten streak against Belgian opposition. Jurgen Klopp’s men are 13/10 for the victory, with Genk at 11/1.
Ajax could give Chelsea the blues
Last year’s semi-finalists Ajax lead the way in Group H after collecting all six points from their opening two games, which has seen them establish a precious three-point lead over Valencia and Chelsea. The Eredivisie ensemble netted six times without reply in those fixtures too, placing them in a good position to qualify for the knockout stages. However, their next two fixtures see them face a much recently improved Blues home and away, marking the first time the two sides have met in European competition.
Chelsea opened their group effort badly, succumbing 1-0 to Valencia at Stamford Bridge. They have gained some much-needed form and momentum since then – winning their last five in all competitions including a 2-1 victory over Lille on Matchday Two – and will surely pose a considerable problem to Ajax, though it’s still the home side who go into the game at the Johan Cruyff Arena as 13/10 favourites. Chelsea are at 19/10 with the draw 13/5.
It should be noted that Chelsea are enjoying great goalscoring form, finding the back of the net 16 times in their last five games in all competitions. So while there isn’t an awful lot of value in backing both teams to score, a 2-1 victory for Ajax is plausible at 8/1.
Struggle for second in Group of Death
Group F is arguably the toughest one of all this year, but it’s still no surprise that Barcelona are most-fancied to finish on top. However, it’s Borussia Dortmund who currently occupy first spot ahead of Barca on account of their superior goal difference after holding the Catalans to a 0-0 scoreline before recording a 2-0 victory away at Slavia Prague.
Despite Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan throwing away a lead against Barca at the Camp Nou, and sitting bottom of the table with one point, they are still in the running to take second place, meaning Wednesday’s home clash against Dortmund carries huge weight in the quest for qualification. The Italian side are 23/20 favourites to take the game, given they hold home advantage and have started the Serie A season strongly – they’re just one point behind leaders Juventus – with Dortmund at 11/5. The Bundesliga side are no strangers to a fierce stadium atmosphere, though, so it’s unlikely to faze them.
It could well be a delicate balance for both sides on Wednesday night, towing the line between defence and attack, and given the wealth of quality and big stage experience on offer from both outfits, an unspectacular draw could be in the offing, priced at 5/2, with a 1-1 outcome at 5/1.