Venue – Stadion Ljudski vrt, Maribor, Slovenia
Referee – Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
Date & Time – Tuesday, October 17th 2017 @ 19:45 BST
Current Odds – Maribor 16/1, Draw 11/2, Liverpool 1/6
Maribor are the defending Slovenian PrvaLga champions. This season, they are undefeated after twelve games and currently lie in second place in the league.
Maribor won their 14th Slovenian title rather comfortably last term and have reached the Champions League group stages for only the third time in their history.
So far in the Champions League, they achieved a 1-1 draw at home to Spartak Moscow and lost 3-0 at Sevilla. Maribor have a 60% win rate from their last five games, though those three victories all came in the relatively weak Slovenian top-tier.
The only xG stats available for any of Maribor’s games was their recent 3-0 loss at Sevilla. As the table below will show you, it seemed to be a pretty comfortable win for the Spanish side.
Liverpool come into this match on the back of three straight draws. The xG stats shown below show the clear domination Liverpool have exerted over recent opposition but the failure to make that superiority count has been the common theme since September.
Ironically, the only game that Liverpool’s xG was less than that of their opponents was the match that they did win in this period, 3-2 at Leicester City. Football, eh?
Maribor normally line out in a 4-2-3-1 formation which reverts to 4-4-1-1 when not in possession. They may be without their influential 34-year-old centre-back, Marko Suler, who is doubtful for this game. He also missed the Sevilla game through injury. Matej Palcic (defender) is also a doubt while Denis Sme (defender) definitely won’t be fit for the game.
All midfielders and attackers are fit for Maribor. Damjan Bohar is definitely one to watch on Tuesday night for the Reds. Maribor’s 25-year-old left-winger has been their danger-man so far this season, bagging four goals in twelve appearances.
Even though this has been touted as another ‘must-win’ game for Liverpool, Klopp is still likely to rotate the starting eleven players. The Reds’ injury-list currently contains the names of Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mané.
Karius should return for his regular Champions League minutes while I expect Alexander-Arnold, Klavan and Robertson to be given some game time as well. Milner should start in midfield in place of Emre Can but I expect the front three to remain the same as it was against United on Saturday.
Maribor’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)
- Damjan Bohar (AML) 7.14
- Mitja Viler (DL) 6.86
- Jasmin Handanovic (GK) 6.84
Maribor XI (4-2-3-1) – Handanovic; Milec, Rajcevic, Billong, Viler; Kabha, Vrcovec; Bajde, Ahmedi, Bohar; Tavares(c)
Liverpool XI (4-1-2-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Henderson(c), Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho
When they last met
This will be the first time the two clubs have ever met.
Maribor 0 – 3 Liverpool
I keep saying it and I stick by it (hopefully, I’m not still saying it in December!) – this Liverpool team is too good and performing too well to continue failing to win. The Reds look like a team who are going to enter a hot streak of form. The sooner, the better.
Maribor have to be put to the sword on Tuesday night. Klopp’s Reds have got to take their frustrations out on someone. Let’s bully the little guys for a change!