FOOTBALL BETTING: Live on Setanta Ireland: Thu 20.00: Liverpool travel to Rabotnicki Kometal to begin their European campaign under Roy Hodgson. Shamrock face Juventus.
There’s more than a fortnight before the big kick-off in the Premiership, but Liverpool face an earlier return to competitive action tomorrow evening as they head to Skopje to tackle FC Rabotnicki in the Europa League’s third qualifying round.
Betdaq’s 11/1 second favourites to win the tournament, the Reds, at 1/33 (bet365) are expected to ease past the Macedonian outfit in relatively straightforward fashion and subsequently there’s every chance that Roy Hodgson will leave the majority of his senior players, especially those that featured in the World Cup, on the sidelines.
Even bearing that in mind, bookies overwhelmingly side with Liverpool; Stan James’ 1/4 the best available price for an away success and even with an under strength line-up, Hodgson’s charges should bring a lead back to Anfield.
One note of caution for the Reds is the fact that Jaxx.com’s 9/1 outsiders, Rabotnicki, were only beaten 2-1 on aggregate by a strong Bolton side, containing the likes of Nicolas Anelka and Kevin Nolan, in the UEFA Cup three years ago. They are also yet to concede in this year’s competition, having played four games and they will be no pushovers so it won’t necessarily be an emphatic triumph for Liverpool.
Nevertheless they can get the job done and Victor Chandler’s 11/2 for them to notch twice without reply in the Philip II Arena is the value bet in the correct score betting while Paddy Power’s 5/6 for the Reds to prevail without conceding should yield a profit.
As the hosts have already played a few competitive matches, they may up to speed a touch quicker than Liverpool, who could take time to get going. A drawn first period is worth considering then at 7/4 (Partybets) and Totesport’s 7/2 for Hodgson’s troops to come out on top despite heading in at the break on level terms, is a cracking bet.
Elsewhere, William Hill offer evens for the second half to produce more goals than the first, Liverpool new boy Milan Jovanovic is 4/1 with Ladbrokes to open his account for the club by breaking the deadlock and the former Standard Liege attacker is even money (Paddy Power) to strike at any stage.
Over in Ireland, it’s a massive night for Shamrock Rovers who face Juventus over 2 legs after ousting Bnei Yehuda. The Old Lady travel to Ireland in one of the most intriguing ties of the round and Skybet have put a somewhat surprising 1/4 on Juventus (surprising that it isn’t much much shorter). There will be a feeling that Shamrock might be a touch fitter and match ready and might push them for 45 mins but at the end of the game, Juventus should be on top of this one, perhaps only by a 1-0 or 2-0 margin though (7/1 and 11/2 respectively, Victor Chandler).
Elsewhere, Hibernian go to Slovenia to face NK Maribor and the Scots are 5/2 at Stan James to get off to a winning start. Fellow SPL team Motherwell are 12/5 at Bet365 away to Aalesunds in what could be a good night for them. Finally Bangor City go to Portugal to face Sporting Fingal’s conquerers Maritimo. Bangor are 16/1 with Victor Chandler but Maritimo showed how susceptible they were at the back by conceding 4 to the Irish minnows. Bangor are perhaps not quite as good as Fingal but over 2.5 goals at 8/15 (Will Hills) seems like a good bet.