Atalanta vs Liverpool
Liverpool are in control of Champions League Group D thanks to two wins out of two. However, main challengers Atalanta are not far behind after a win and a draw in their first two outings, where they scored six goals.
The free-scoring Italians now host Liverpool with the hope of overtaking the Reds for top spot in the group. La Dea couldn’t have asked a better time to play the reigning English champions, who continue to deal with significant injury problems in defence.
However, the Champions League 2020 betting odds still back Liverpool, who are not short on firepower in their own right and have the ability to hurt Atalanta’s leaky defence.
Atalanta get back on track
After back-to-back league defeats, Atalanta finally got back on track with a 1-2 away win at Crotone over the weekend. Luis Muriel bagged a first-half brace to secure all three points for La Dea, who had won just one of their previous four matches in all competitions.
Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini continued to rotate his star forwards amid the constant run of games. Muriel and captain Papu Gomez both came off at half-time for Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata to help preserve them for their big Champions League clash.
Zapata is likely to return to the starting XI against Liverpool. The Colombian has been in fantastic form this season, contributing five goals and three assists in eight appearances. He bagged a brace last week as Atalanta came back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against Ajax.
Atalanta’s defence has been unconvincing thus far this season. They’ve already conceded 15 goals in eight matches, with their lone clean sheet coming in a 4-0 win against Group D minnows Midtjylland.
But on the other end, they’ve already bagged 23 goals. With the attacking talent at their disposal, they are capable of scoring goals against just about any defence in Europe.
They will especially fancy facing a Liverpool side that will be without both star centre-back Virgil van Dijk and defensive midfielder Fabinho, who had been filling in for van Dijk before picking up an injury.
Liverpool coping with centre-back injuries
Liverpool are dealing with their defensive injury concerns quite well. They’ve won all four of their matches since losing star centre-back Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury.
They also overcame the injury to his replacement, Fabinho, as they came back from an early deficit to beat West Ham 2-1 at Anfield over the weekend.
Nathaniel Phillips was called upon to start amid their injuries, and the 23-year-old centre-back delivered an impressive performance in his Premier League debut, which has likely earned him another start against Atalanta.
Meanwhile, the combination of Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota once again delivered the goods in front of goal. The two also created Champions League 2020 highlights as they scored in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Midtjylland last week.
Jota has now scored in each of his last three games and is quickly proving why Liverpool were one of the transfer window’s big winners.
Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri, who set up Jota’s winner, both started last week against Midtjylland and may have earned themselves another chance to start in Italy.
Liverpool looked much more conservative in their approach against West Ham. Despite dominating 72 per cent of possession, they attempted only nine shots while holding the Hammers to five.
That could potentially be Jurgen Klopp’s strategy once again as the Reds try to limit Atalanta’s prolific attack without some of their important defensive pieces.
This will be Atalanta and Liverpool’s first competitive meeting against one another.
Atalanta have only faced English opposition twice before. They met Manchester City in last year’s Champions League group stage. They lost 5-1 in Manchester before drawing the ‘home’ match, which was played in Milan. They also faced Everton in the Europa League group stage in 2017 and won both of those matches.
As for Liverpool, they failed to beat their Italian foes (Napoli) both times in last year’s group stage. The Reds have travelled away to Italy 13 times, winning just three with seven defeats.
|Atalanta vs Liverpool||Atalanta Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 1.83|
|November 04, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
Despite missing van Dijk and Fabinho, SBOTOP odds still have Liverpool favoured at 2.11 to maintain their 100 per cent record away from home, while Atalanta are priced at 3.20 to bring down the English champions. Meanwhile, a draw is at 3.50.
Those odds might be giving a bit too much respect to Liverpool, though. The Reds didn’t look particularly convincing in their first Champions League away outing against Ajax, where they needed an own goal to eke out a 0-1 win. Atalanta figure to pose much bigger problems to Liverpool’s makeshift defence.
Liverpool could also have one eye toward their huge Premier League clash against Manchester City on the weekend, so they may not be quite as eager to go all-out for the win. That should help open the door for Atalanta to pick up a positive result at home against the English champions.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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