We are right into the thick of it in the Champions League.
Matchday two is here and we’re about to see groups start to take shape. There are some huge games on Wednesday night and Joel Sanderson-Murray runs the rule over what we can expect….
KRC Genk vs Napoli – 17:55
Liverpool vs Red Bull Salzburg – 20:00
There wasn’t too much deflation amongst Liverpool supporters following the 2-0 defeat to Napoli in matchday one.
It was disappointing for the European Champions to fail to start the defence of their crown with a win in Italy but in the grand scheme of things, the feeling is that it won’t have too much of an effect on who qualifies from this group.
Liverpool and Napoli would have been confident that they both would prevail from Group E when they were drawn with Belgian side Genk and Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg.
However, Salzburg’s 6-2 dismantling of Genk in the first set of games may have dialled up a bit of pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead of their meeting at Anfield.
Erling Braut Haaland, yes, we all know who his Dad is, stole the headlines with a stunning hat-trick at the Red Bull Arena and all the attention will be on him as he plays in the Champions League in England for the first time.
He may have some joy, as well.
Red Bull are a team that score goals, a lot of them. In the Austrian Bundesliga they have scored more than double the amount of the 2nd-placed team, bagging 40 goals in their first nine games.
Liverpool are swatting almost everything in front of them so far this season, aside from Napoli, but they have only managed to keep a clean sheet on three occasions in all competitions.
Slavia Prague vs Borussia Dortmund – 17:55
Barcelona vs Inter Milan – 20:00
It is sometimes peculiar how quickly a Champions League group can take shape, and for Inter Milan they could be staring down both barrels of the gun.
A disappointing 1-1 draw against the supposed ‘whipping boys’ of the group, Slavia Prague, has left the three-time European Cup winners in slight disarray in terms of qualifying from Group F.
Up next is a trip to Barcelona followed by the double header against Borussia Dortmund and suddenly, Inter could be staring at three defeats in a row and exit from the Champions League.
A lot needs to happen for that to become the reality, but they look up against it for the trip to the Camp Nou.
Barca may not be at their best in La Liga at the moment but do have Ousmane Dembele and a certain Lionel Messi returning to the squad for Wednesday’s match.
Inter, on the other hand, will be without their own talisman in former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku who is missing through injury.
Lille vs Chelsea – 20:00
Valencia vs Ajax – 20:00
Valencia pulled off one of the surprises of matchday one in the UEFA Champions League by securing a 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Rodrigo’s winner spoiled Frank Lampard’s first Champions League outing in charge of the Blues and the trip to France to face Lille OSC may not bring that elusive first win.
Lille are currently sat in 4thposition in Ligue 1, just four points off league leaders Paris Saint Germain and are yet to lose at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy this season.
Chelsea’s problem has been keeping things tight at the back so far this season although the indications are that may well be improving after keeping a clean sheet at home to Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend.
It could well be win-or-bust for Lampard in Lille, with the double-header with last year’ semi-finalists Ajax looming, in form Tammy Abraham to score first & Chelsea to win at 6.50* could tickle your fancy if you’re confident of them coming through.
However, it is Lille to win and both teams to score at 6.25* which is where the value may be at.
RB Leipzig vs Lyon – 20:00
Zenit St Petersburg vs Benfica – 20:00
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