Liverpool v Maribor - Damage Limitation the only aim for Slovenian Champions

Liverpool v Maribor - Damage Limitation the only aim for Slovenian Champions

The Details

 Champions League

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Ivan Kruzliak (Slovakia)

Date & Time – Wednesday, November 1st 2017 @ 19:45 BST

Current Odds – Liverpool 1/25, Draw 20/1, Maribor 50/1

Form

Since the 7-0 win in Slovenia, Liverpool have again displayed some jarring inconsistencies in their team performances. They were well beaten at Wembley by Spurs while showing a more patient, professional side to their game against Huddersfield. Lovren and Mignolet, among others, had a nightmare at Wembley, however, Klopp stuck by them for the visit of Huddersfield. Indeed, it was only due to a late injury during his pre-game warm-up routine that caused Lovren to be replaced by Klavan against The Terriers.

Liverpool have won two of their last five games and continue to dominate most of their matches, as can be seen by the xG stats, below. Daniel Sturridge popped up with a beautiful, deft finish to open the scoring on Saturday. Firmino also bagged a goal for himself. More importantly, they seemed to work well together with Firmino, in particular, creating more than one great opportunity for Sturridge. Could a Sturridge & Firmino partnership be another option for Klopp as the team battle injuries and fixture congestion?

Maribor have managed two 1-0 victories in the Slovenian Premier League since their 0-7 defeat to Liverpool. In fact, their only other two defeats this season have also come in the Champions League (3-0 at Sevilla in the Group, 2-1 at H. Beer Sheva in the Playoffs). They are undefeated domestically, this season. They currently lie in second place in the league, just behind Olimpija Ljubljana on goal difference.

They got a creditable 1-1 draw in their opening group game at home to Spartak Moscow but have not looked threatening in either of their games since. In truth, Liverpool could have won by more than 7 in Slovenia. It will surely be a damage limitation exercise for Maribor at Anfield.

Team News

Maribor are missing Sme and Zahovic. Other than that, they are pretty much at full-strength.

Jurgen Klopp has recently seen Danny Ward added to his slowly increasing injury-list. Lallana, Coutinho, Clyne and Sadio Mané are still part of that list, however, all except Clyne should be back available for selection in the coming weeks.

Karius is most likely going to keep his Champions League place while I expect TAA to get a run at right-back with Klavan maybe getting picked again after a comfortable game at the weekend. Klopp will have a little bit of wiggle-room to rest and rotate the midfield and forward lines and as a result I’d like to see Sturridge and Firmino get to play together again, but I think he may rest Firmino and give Oxlade-Chamberlain his first Liverpool start instead.

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

  1. M. Kabha (DM)            6.53
  2. D. Bohar (AML)           6.49
  3. J. Handanovic (GK)    6.47

Predicted XIs

Liverpool XI (4-1-2-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Can, Milner(c), Wijnaldum; Salah, Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Maribor XI (4-2-3-1) – Handanovic; Milec, Rajcevic, Suler, Viler; Kabha, Vrhovec; Bajde, Ahmedi, Bohar; Tavares(c)

When they last met

The only meeting between the teams was Liverpool’s record-equaling 7-0 away victory to Maribor a couple of weeks ago.

Prediction

Liverpool 5 – 0 Maribor

I can’t see anything besides another comprehensive win for the Reds on Wednesday night. After the gulf in class displayed in Slovenia in the last game, the Reds have to be expected to win by at least a five-goal margin this week.

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