No repeat of big-win hangover for Liverpool over in Augsburg
We all know what happened the last time Liverpool’s attack was lauded for a six-goal blitz. However, a change in competition should have the opposite effect than it did at Newcastle a few months back, as Jurgen Klopp heads home to Germany to face Augsburg in the Europa League.
After Liverpool rolled Southampton over 6-1 in the Capital One Cup in December, struggling Newcastle bore more resemblance to sitting ducks than magpies as the Reds rolled into town.
Once Liverpool left St James’ Park as shock 2-0 losers, it was back to the drawing board for Klopp as his side unexpectedly slumped to four games without a win.
At least a 0-0 draw at FC Sion during that crash was enough to see the five-time European champions through as Group B winners, which set up this favourable-looking tie against Markus Weinzierl’s Bundesliga also-rans.
The side currently occupying 14th spot in Germany’s top flight are well known to Klopp and have shown themselves to be vulnerable at home in Europe this season, losing 3-1 to Partizan in Group L, before Atheltic Bilbao left the Augsburg Arena as 3-2 victors.
The two teams have never drawn swords, though Liverpool’s pedigree and unbeaten record in the competition this season – W2D2 under Klopp – make the English visitors worthy 11/10 favourites to forge an advantage.
Routing the Premier League’s bottom club 6-0 in the build up may seem like taking candy from a baby, but even though Aston Villa were particularly abject, the return to form and fitness of some key attacking figures for Liverpool cannot be ignored.
With Philippe Coutinho conducting Klopp’s orchestra, the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi should fine Augsburg obliging hosts, so over 1.5 away goals looks ripe at 11/10, though 15/4 on over 2.5 is more alluring still.
Nevertheless, anyone who has watched Liverpool this season (or for many seasons now) will know that clean sheets are a little like four-leaf clovers for Klopp’s mob, so both teams notching at 5/6 is essential betting.
As he did when Bayern Munich visited last, don’t ignore the Europa League’s joint top marksman for a wager either, with six-goal Paraguayan Raul Bobadilla among the best 13/5 punts around to grace the scoresheet over 90 minutes.