Jurgen Klopp appears to be bucking the trend of most Premier League managers and prioritising the Europa League, as the Liverpool boss travels to Rubin Kazan with his strongest possible squad in tow.
Thanks to injuries, the German had his hands tied somewhat for the Russians’ Anfield visit a fortnight ago, but judging by his selection for the return match, Klopp is clearly hoping his big names can deliver a vital win in the competition – rated at 17/20.
Despite the draining nature of the trip east and a Sunday Premier League date at home to Crystal Palace in the immediate pipeline, the likes of Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all travel, boding well for Liverpool backers.
Three games into their Group B campaign and the Reds are still chasing an elusive victory, having drawn their opening two matches under Brendan Rodgers and being held by Rubin at Anfield last time in Klopp’s continental bow as Liverpool boss.
However, since that frustrating night on Merseyside, Liverpool’s fortunes and performances have improved markedly.
They finally shook the drawing monkey from their backs when defeating Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, but far more impressive was the display and 3-1 result at Chelsea in the league last time.
Momentum is with Liverpool and although Rubin proved worthy enough opponents at Anfield when earning a point, the Russians have only collected two points from three Group B games and shouldn’t be feared.
The result at Stamford Bridge showed the Reds now posses weapons to put games to bed, and over 1.5 goals for the visitors holds a previously missing appeal as a result at 1/1.
Whereas marquee signings Benteke and Firmino were not able to influence the first game against Rubin from the start due to injury, the pair have since returned to something approaching full fitness and begun to click.
Although Benteke would be the obvious candidate to select as the Reds first scorer, Adam Lallana has been the go-to Liverpool player in Europe this season, and there is no reason the in-form Southampton man can’t deliver again.
Klopp is obviously an admirer of the England man’s skills and he’s extracting the best out of him as part of a fluid three behind the striker.
Lallana is a 13/2 chance to grab the first goal, which would pay handsome dividends if it comes within the first 15 minutes in light of Ladbrokes’ *Sharp Shooter offer on televised matches.
Meanwhile, Coutinho’s return to top form at Chelsea should interest Ladbrokes customers, who can get boosted odds of 5/1, out from 7/2, for the Brazilian to follow up that brace by scoring as part of a Liverpool win.
*Sharp Shooter T’s & C’s
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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