Strangers in Moscow - Spartak vs Liverpool Preview

Strangers in Moscow - Spartak vs Liverpool Preview

The Details

 Champions League

Venue – Otkrytiye Arena (Moscow)

Referee – Clément Turpin (France)

Date & Time – Tuesday, 26th September 2017 @ 19:45 BST

Current Odds – Spartak Moscow 7/2, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 7/10

Form

Spartak Moscow won the Russian Premier League last season for the first time in 16 years. Their defence of the title is not going to plan, however.

Massimo Carrera is their fiery Italian coach and he has been struggling with internal conflict this season between the Sporting Director, the first-team and himself. So much so, that after the recent league game against Tosna (where they threw away a two-goal lead in the last ten minutes against ten men) Carrera is rumoured to have confronted his team in the dressing room with the questions “Do you want me to leave?” and “are you doing this on purpose?!”

They followed that up with a good 2-0 win at Kuban and this weekend they drew 2-2 at home to Anzi Makhachkala.

After their first eleven league games, they currently sit seventh in the table with a goal difference of -1. As can be seen from their form table below, they have been showing improvements in their last five matches, winning two and drawing three.

I’m sure you’re all sick of reading my constant bemoaning of Liverpool’s September woes at this stage. I’m certainly tired of writing about it. However, I can’t really avoid it in this section as it’s about the team’s recent results and how they’ve been faring.

Let the form table below tell you the story. Liverpool’s average xG for the last five games is 1.72 and xA is 1.51. Yet, the Reds have scored 6 and actually conceded twelve in that period! Liverpool’s win at Leicester on Saturday was their first victory since the 4-0 home win over Arsenal back in August.

Performance-wise, the team is making the chances but not taking as many as they should. Defensively, it points to the Reds conceding goals that you just would not be expecting to end up in the net – think Slimani’s goal in the Carabao Cup for Leicester.

Team News

Spartak Moscow are without Glushakov, Tigiev, Ze Luis and Zobnin due to injury. Timofeev is also a slight doubt for Tuesday night.

Quincy Promes (Netherlands) and Luiz Adriano (Brazil) is the regular up-front pairing for Spartak. Promes has been performing very well this season, getting four goals and two assists in his last seven league games.

Carrera appears to have been using a 3-3-2-2 setup so far this season.

Klopp has Clyne and Lallana out injured while Emre Can and Joel Matip are carrying knocks as well. It remains to be seen whether either of those two will be passed fit for this game. Sadio Mané is available for the Reds and should start on the left side of the attack.

Liverpool are missing Joe Gomez through suspension.

Spartak Moscow’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. Salvatore Bochetti      7.68
  2. Giorgi Jikia                  7.55
  3. Aleksandr Samedov   7.47

Predicted XIs

Spartak Moscow XI (3-3-2-2) – Rebrov; Bochetti, Kutepov, Jikia; Eshchenko, Glushakov, Fernando, Pasalic, Kombarov; Adriano, Promes

Liverpool XI (4-1-2-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mané

When they last met

Spartak Moscow and Liverpool have only met four times previously. The last meeting was in 2002, during Gerard Houllier’s time at Anfield. Liverpool beat Spartak 5-0 at Anfield and 3-1 in Moscow.

Before that, Spartak knocked Liverpool out of the old Cup Winners’ Cup competition in the 1992/93 season, 6-2 on aggregate.

Prediction

Spartak Moscow 1 – 2 Liverpool

Liverpool must be really wishing September away at this stage. One of their heaviest ever defeats at City, along with an early exit from the Carabao Cup has seen the mood around the Reds deteriorate. The early-season bubble of optimism has burst and the team now need to blow another one. It’s time they started making their superiority in most games count. Tuesday night is an opportunity for Klopp’s men to finish the month on a high and get the confidence rising again for October’s games.

I think Liverpool will have just about enough to nick this one. It won’t be all doom and gloom, then. Hopefully, with four points from two games, it will leave Liverpool in a strong position at the top of the group with Sevilla.

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