Liverpool v Rubin: Russians primed to be Klopp’s first victims

Liverpool’s reputation as a giant of European competition has been waning badly since Rafael Benitez packed his bags, but ahead of Rubin Kazan’s visit there is genuine optimism that this slide can be reversed, thanks to a new face in the dugout.

Jurgen Klopp reached the Champions League final in charge of Borussia Dortmund and his appointment has bred genuine hope that Liverpool can shake the shackles of mediocrity in Europe that characterized them under Brendan Rodgers.

Gaining a hard-earned point at Tottenham with a much-depleted squad has already earned Klopp various plaudits, particularly for the way in which his side quickly showed their willingness to adapt to his high-pressing methods.

After two uninspiring performances to kick their Europa League campaign off resulted in successive 1-1 draws, a supercharged Anfield will be fully expecting a complete crank up in volume for Klopp’s home dugout bow.

Luckily for the German tactician, heightened expectations should be easily met. Given the brittle nature of their Group B opponents on Thursday night, the Anfield roof should need reattaching come the final whistle.

Liverpool look well worth some investment simply to take the points against Rubin at 4/9 and earn a first win of the Klopp era.

Having sacked Rinat Bilyaletdinov in September, Rubin have a temporary manager in place in the shape of Valeri Chaly for this battery-draining 3300km trip to Liverpool.

They sit just below the halfway point in the Russian Premier League, winning only one of their last six games in all competitions, while also propping up Group B on a single point, having already fallen victim to a limited FC Sion side on their travels.

The five-time European champions are blighted by injuries, but with every fit member of Klopp’s squad looking to impress the new manager, such opposition should really be swept aside at Anfield.

The early evidence suggest the hosts will rush out of the blocks and look to gain an advantage as early as possible in proceedings.

As a result, the 11/4 about Liverpool winning at both half-time and full-time represents excellent value.

Ladbrokes Promotions on the game

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.