Live on Five & ESPN: Thu 20.05: Rangers host Sporting Lisbon and Liverpool travel to Sparta Prague but both could end in stalemates.
Liverpool are undoubtedly rejuvenated under Kenny Dalglish, but the draw with Wigan at the weekend suggests that there is still plenty of room for improvement and it’s tough to recommended them at a best price of just 10/11 with Totesport as they resume Europa League action with a trip to Sparta Prague.
The Reds have to be considered slight favourites but the odds-on quotes don’t appeal especially as all of Liverpool’s away matches in the group phase – at FC Utrecht, Steaua Bucharest and Napoli – finished all square while the absence of Steven Gerrard also strips appeal from the Reds.
Manchester City’s stalemate at Aris Salonika demonstrated how tough it can be away from home in European competition but it’s also worth mentioning that draws aren’t a bad result for the away team in the first leg of a two-leg tie and Dalglish might be happy to settle for that in the Czech Republic. Betfred price them at 5/2 to share the spoils.
At 23/10 with Totesport, the draw is also the best bet at Ibrox as Rangers host Sporting Lisbon. In the group stage of the Champions League, Walter Smith’s men beat Bursaspor, shared the spoils with Valencia and only went down to a late Wayne Rooney penalty against Manchester United, so they’re a tough side to beat on their own patch. They can be equally resilient against the Portuguese outfit and low-scoring stalemate looks on the cards.
Coral rate a 1-1 scoreline at 11/2, William Hill quote 17/2 for the deadlock to remain unbroken and there would be some appeal in ‘Dutching’ those selections but a potentially more profitable option that covers both results is bet365’s 3/1 for scores to be level and the match to produce fewer than 2.5 goals.