• Sun 24 Sep, 2017
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Defence The Key For Reds In Europe

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Liverpool need to overcome a one goal deficit against Lille if they are to progress. Chris Hutcheon previews all the Europa League action.

Liverpool warmed up nicely for their Europa League clash against Lille by brushing Portsmouth aside on Monday and that clinical display from Rafa Benitez’s men, who ran out 4-1 winners, bodes well for the visit of the French outfit; who arrive at Anfield in possession of a 1-0 first leg advantage and quoted by William Hill at evens to get the job done.

The Reds are just 8/15 at best, with Totesport, to register a second-leg victory but they can also be backed at a generous 10/11 courtesy of 888Sport to qualify for the next stage or at 8/5 (Paddy Power) to do so in normal time. Crucial to the latter will be Liverpool’s ability to keep a clean sheet, an outcome Partybets price at 20/21, as they failed to score in France.

Despite their tendency to switch off at the back occasionally, Monday’s late Portsmouth strike being a case in point, Benitez’s charges can secure a shutout having barely been troubled in the first leg until Lille scored their somewhat fortuitous solitary goal and subsequently, Betdaq’s 6/1 for them to notch twice without reply isn’t without appeal.

Fernando Torres looked more like his old self against Pompey, as he bagged a brace, and he can be a pivotal figure in this contest; Ladbrokes rating the Spaniard at 10/3 to open the scoring and Betfred posting 5/6 against Torres netting at any point.

Meanwhile punters sensing a tough but ultimately successful night for the Reds can take out a little bit of insurance by risking modest stakes at Paddy Power on Liverpool to prevail in extra-time or on penalties; those results on offer at 12/1 and 20/1 respectively.

Liverpool look set to be the Premiership’s only representatives in the last eight because Fulham’s European adventure looks set to come to an end at Craven Cottage at the hands of Juventus. Roy Hodgson’s side are 6/1 with bet365 to overturn a 3-1 deficit and 1/8 (Paddy Power) to be eliminated from the competition by the Italian giants, who are 12/5 at Betdaq to hold the Cottagers to a second-leg stalemate.

Elsewhere, Betdaq offer evens for Sporting Lisbon to progress at the expense of Atletico Madrid, Wolfsburg are 1/2 (Totesport) to eliminate Rubin Kazan and Benfica look overpriced at 6/4 with Stan James to get past Marseille.

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