Goals may well be in short supply when Barcelona and Liverpool face off in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.
Two of Europe’s biggest clubs go head-to-head on Wednesday night but only one will get the chance to fight for what would be their sixth Champions League crown.
Barcelona start as favourites but this looks too close to call with Liverpool having showed over the past two seasons how adept they are in winning these two-legged ties against quality opponents.
They certainly represent Barca’s toughest test to date in this season’s competition with a solid defence, one which has kept four clean sheets in the last five games, better equipped than most to keep out the effervescent Lionel Messi, who has been in sensational form.
Liverpool clearly have real threat in their attack too, although Roberto Firmino has been an injury doubt in recent days. Divock Origi stands by.
However, gung-ho football seems unlikely to be on display with Liverpool confident against any side in the unique atmosphere of Anfield, where these sides will play next week.
Their first leg against Bayern Munich in the last 16 saw the Reds look to assert control of the ball above anything else and going under 2.5 goals in this first leg looks a decent play at 23/20.
The aforementioned Messi could also provide a route to profit in some of the sub-markets.
He’s been used sparingly in the latter stages of Barca’s La Liga successful title defence and should be raring to go here.
The tournament’s leading scorer should give Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson plenty to think about and the Scot’s defensive game will come under real scrutiny which isn’t too often the case in the Premier League.
Robertson, booked three times in nine Champions League appearances this season and also four times in his last 14 in all competitions, is 3/1 to be carded in this game which looks worth a punt.
Finally, backing Messi to keep Alisson busy in the Liverpool net looks to offer some value.
Messi has managed to get at least three shots on target in five of his seven Champions League starts this season, including all three at the Nou Camp (tallies of 3-5-4).
Yes, Liverpool should put up greater resistance but one of the all-time greats, who has played so well of late, should still find a way to get shots off. Over 2.5 shots on target can be backed at 6/5 which looks fair enough.
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