IT’S the penultimate stage of the group phase of this season’s Champions League as clubs put it all on the line to qualify for the knockout stages. Here’s our best picks for matchday 9.
Besiktas v Porto
Surprising group leaders Besiktas do battle against Porto at home knowing that a draw will be good enough for them to wrap up top spot in the group. The Turkish giants are unbeaten in the Champions League this season and face a Porto side that will be desperate to keep their season alive.
The Portuguese champions have been inconsistent over their four matches this season managing two wins and two losses to place them precariously in second spot in the group. Goals at either end of the field have been a feature of Porto’s play in Europe this season with over 2.5 goals scored in all four of Porto’s Champions League fixtures. Porto has also scored at least two goals in their past three matches.
A draw certainly keeps Porto in the hunt for qualification but Sergio Conceicao will know that only a win keeps their fate in their own hands heading into the final match of the group stage you’d expect them to push for goals. Conversely, an open contest will suit Besiktas as they have the fire power to hurt Porto on the counter as we saw in their 3-1 win in the reverse fixture. Back the overs.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals @ $2.05
Sevilla v Liverpool
Arguably the match of the day, as second-placed Sevilla host an in-form Liverpool outfit looking to wrap up top spot in the group.
The Spanish side have managed to string together three wins from their past four matches to have them one point behind the English outfit but their big concern is on the defensive end. Sevilla have conceded a whopping eight goals from their four matches and now face a Liverpool side who will look to debut front quartet of Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane for the first time in the Champions League this season.
Liverpool have managed two wins and two draws to date but both those wins have come against minnows Maribor. Jurgan Klopp knows that a win over Sevilla will all but assure them top spot in the group and that carrot will be ever-so enticing.
Sevilla will battle hard but Liverpool have too much firepower and their high-octane attack should win out over the Spanish side’s inconsistent backline.
Prediction: Liverpool draw no bet @ $1.80