Liverpool to prove too tough for withered Augsburg to crack

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The chance for Jurgen Klopp to open his Liverpool-trophy account in the Capital One Cup this weekend is likely to test the German’s commitment to the Europa League, as Augsburg arrive for the round-of-32 second leg five days before the Wembley trip.

However, with the tie poised at 0-0 after the first match in Bavaria, Klopp is likely to take the view that his men have a strong chance of progressing, thanks to two favourable factors.

The first centres on the Merseyside outfit’s form, particularly at home, which has been unnoticeably strong this season.

Liverpool have only lost three games inside 90 minutes at Anfield during 2015/16. That tally stretches to four when the extra-time victory that Stoke pulled off in the Capital One Cup semi-final is included, but the Reds went on to claim the tie on penalties.

Proving so tough to beat, either during regular time, in the extra period or on penalties is clearly a huge boon to Liverpool, who are rated at 2/5 by Ladbrokes to claim victory in 90 minutes.

Along with their stubborn home form, Liverpool have strung a solid undefeated run together in Europe. The side have not lost any of their last seven games in the Europa League and can be backed at 4/11 to qualify on that basis or at 1/10 in the double chance market.

With neither of those prices offering get-rich-quick seekers any pleasure, it may pay to take a look at the half-time/full-time market, where the Reds have another strong line of form.

They’ve been drawing at the break and at full time in five of their last seven European outings and are available at 11/2 to do so again against Augsburg, although anything other than another 0-0 draw would see Liverpool knocked out by the away-goal rule.

Speaking of the visitors, it is their dreadful luck with injuries that forms the second strand of the Liverpool-to-progress argument.

The Bundesliga club arrive on Merseyside without the services of their top scorer, Raul Bobadilla, playmaker Daniel Baier and fellow midfielder Markus Feulner.

That trio aren’t the only concerns, with Fuggerstädter manager Markus Weinzierl unable to pick seven of his first-team squad.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.