Despite rather carelessly allowing Newcastle off the hook last time out, Liverpool travel to Villarreal in very good shape for their Europa League semi-final first leg, which is more than can be said for their hosts.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges should have sealed their fifth consecutive win in all competitions ahead of their trip to Spain.
Having coasted in to a 2-0 lead at half-time, failure to keep up the intensity of performance shown in recent weeks enabled Newcastle to claw themselves back to 2-2 in the Premier League.
While keeping one eye on Villarreal is not excusable for his players, it is certainly a feasible reason given the magnitude of Thursday night’s fixture, especially with Premier League path to Champions League qualification being all-but closed to Liverpool.
Essentially it has become eggs-in-one-basket time for Klopp’s Reds and this quest to reach the final has been aided by their opponents’ sudden drop off in form.
Although The Yellow Submarine have claimed six of six victories at their Estadio El Madrigal home in the competition this season, Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men have lost twice and drawn heading into this clash.
The Spaniards have only found the net once in this downturn too. This should give Liverpool belief they can at least get a positive result at the Madrigal.
It should also offer Ladbrokes customers looking for a wager on the match encouragement that the Reds are worthy of a double chance gamble at 8/15.
The match odds are so close together that the draw is probably the value bet there at 21/10, especially as this result has been the most prevalent for the English club on their continental travels this season.
Of their six trips away from Anfield, Liverpool have drawn five of them.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.