Tag Archives: Europe

Liverpool Predicted Starting XI vs Spartak Moscow

Liverpool travel to the Otkrytie Arena tonight to face Massimo Carrera’s Spartak Moscow, who, like Liverpool, are looking for a first win of the Champions League Group Stage, along with the other two teams of the group, Sevilla and Maribor, with all four teams sitting on one point. Liverpool will need a strong side to overcome the current Russian Premier League Champions, so who will play?

To start with the absences, Nathaniel Clyne is still unavailable with a back injury, while Adam Lallana is currently recovering still from a thigh problem, although has been seen running around Melwood this week. Joe Gomez is fully fit but will not feature tonight due to his two yellow cards in the first group match at Anfield against Sevilla.

For the players who will are likely to feature, Jurgen Klopp has said that Loris Karius will start in goal tonight, as the Liverpool boss sticks to his policy of rotating goalkeepers for different competitions. Karius last played in the first Group E match at home to Sevilla.

Onto the back four, with Clyne out injured, Trent Alexander-Arnold will most likely feature at right back after a few impressive performances, which have included a stunning free kick in the Champions League Play-Off round against Hoffenheim. However, Alexander-Arnold hasn’t featured for the Reds since the 1-1 draw at home to Burnley. The two centre backs are out of a choice of three: Klavan, Matip and Lovren. In recent weeks, when full strength teams have been playing, the partnership of Matip and Lovren has been present, including in the Champions League. It is most likely that this will continue, but don’t be surprised to see the Estonian to feature. For the left back situation, it is a choice of either Alberto Moreno or the new recruit, Andrew Robertson. Robertson has made two appearances for Liverpool so far this season, one in the Premier League and one in the League Cup. This could be the Scot’s first chance in Europe for the Reds, but it will more likely be the Spaniard put in the number three role.

As Klopp’s men are well known for their three man attack, it is likely that the Anfield outlet will play a 4-3-3 with three men in midfield. One man almost certain to start will be the captain, Jordan Henderson. The leader with the armband has started all bar one game in all competitions for Liverpool this season. This run will surely continue and the Englishman should be in the starting XI tonight and leading the others. For the other two midfielders, it will probably be Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho starting for Liverpool. The German is a commanding figure, a physical presence on the ground and in the air with great passing and shooting capabilities. Coutinho made his first start of the Premier League season at the weekend and was “very important” to quote Liverpool’s gaffer in the win at the King Power Stadium, grabbing a goal and an assist in the 3-2 victory. This will probably be the midfielder’s first European start of the season, coming on as a substitute in the 2-2 draw with Sevilla at Anfield to a roar of applause from the Liverpool faithful. Other midfielders who will be pushing for a start in tonight’s game will be Georginio Wijnaldum, who was taking Coutinho’s spot amid the Barcelona transfer rumours, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, still looking for a first win while at Anfield.

Liverpool’s attack has been their focal point this campaign so far, with Firmino down the middle, Mané on the right and new signing Salah running down the left wing. The partnership between the three of them has gained so much credit from football lovers. However, since Mané has been banned domestically for three matches after a collision with Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, he has only made one appearance since the loss at the Etihad, that being in the Champions League. The Senegalese has now completed his domestic ban, missing games against Burnley and two against Leicester. He will most likely be starting in Moscow tonight. On the opposite side of the pitch will be the Egyptian, Mohamed Salah, who has played a role in every match so far for Liverpool bar one, the League Cup defeat to Leicester City. The prolific goalscorer should be starting tonight if Liverpool want their best chance of getting a positive result in the Russian capital.

With both wingers chosen, the striker position is where Klopp may have a headache. Roberto Firmino, having taken the number 9 shirt for the Reds this campaign, has been almost ever present in the starting XI for Klopp’s side. However, he was substituted off at the weekend against Leicester for Daniel Sturridge. The Englishman replaced him and gave a marvellous performance, including assisting captain Jordan Henderson for the winning goal, while also putting himself about, winning challenges and getting into good attacking positions to show he is back to fitness and can still do a job for the team. So with Sturridge fighting for his place in the first team and Firmino scoring one goal in almost a month, Klopp may favour the former Chelsea and Manchester City man for tonight’s match. It really is a toss up on who will he pick, Firmino or Sturridge?

Spartak Moscow on the other hand, are without first choice striker Quincy Promes as well as attackers Ze Luis and Denis Davydov, leaving the Russian champions with just two strikers, Sylvanus Nimely and Luiz Adriano. In addition, midfielders Ronan Zobnin, Jano Ananidze and Denis Glushakov are out along with defender Georgi Tigiev, all out through injuries. Therefore, Liverpool must be favourites to win this match, with bookmakers putting the Reds on a 4/7 odds of getting their first Champions League win since 2014. The predicted XI is certainly good enough to give the Anfield faithful what they want tonight, but this is football, and not just football, Champions League football, where absolutely anything can happen. The game will be lively, thrilling and entertaining, that’s for sure. Klopp’s men have the ability. Whether they do it or not, will be seen at 19:45 tonight.

Match Preview: Feyenoord VS Manchester City

Manchester City kick off their Champions League campaign tonight with a tricky away trip to Dutch champions Feyenoord. Guardiola will be going into this seasons instalment of the competition thinking his side can definitely top group F. The blues have been drawn in a group with tonight’s opponents Feyenoord, Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk. Along with the group and the amount that City have spent surely Guardiola will be looking at winning The Champions League this season?

 

Tonight will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides and Guardiola will be wary of the potential banana skin that awaits them. Feyenoord have started well this season. They lead the Eredivisie, with four wins from four games, and appear to be buoyed by their glorious title win in May, their first since 1999.

It’s certainly a match between two in-form sides.

 

City could remarkably have Ederson in net tonight in Holland even after the Brazilian required eight stitches after a collision with Sadio Mane in the 5-0 win against Liverpool. Guardiola will also have Raheem Sterling back after his recent suspension but skipper Vincent Kompany will be out although he is nearly back to full fitness. For Feyenoord Nicolai Jørgensen will miss out after only lasting 22 minutes in Feyenoord’s 4-2 win away to Heracles at the weekend. Michiel Kramer is set to play up front in his absence.

 

Guardiola may look to deploy the deadly duo of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus as they look to carry on from their brilliant display against Liverpool. City didn’t win a single game away from home in The Champions League last season and that is a record that the club will want to put right and I question whether the Dutch champions will be able to withstand the pressure that City will be applying.

 

For me I’m feeling a big win for City to follow on from the results posted by both Manchester United and Chelsea yesterday. My prediction is 4-0 to Manchester City.

 

How do you feel the game will go tonight? Can City win The Champions League? Let  us know in the comments section below…

Gambling Firms on Football Shirts: Is it really that bad?

It is a way of life when it comes to football now. The average football fan over 18 will tend to be betting on matches across the English leagues and even over Europe. However, the growing number of clubs being sponsored by gambling firms is something that is being disputed, to the point that the Labour party have recently announced they would abolish football teams from having gambling firms as their shirt sponsors all together should they get into power.

Controversy occurred this year when it was announced that footballer, Joey Barton, had broken the FA betting regulations over 1000 times to which he is now serving an 18-month ban for and this is something that the Labour party thinks football clubs are apart of. Almost half of the Premier League clubs have a gambling firm as their shirt sponsor and Labour’s shadow culture secretary Mr Watson believes this has negative connotations when he said this week: “Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough,”

“It puts gambling brands in front of fans of all ages, not just at matches but on broadcasts and highlights packages on both commercial television and the BBC.”

A government review is currently underway on the impact of gambling advertisement on children and vulnerable people. This is due to the massive exposure that football is reportedly giving betting machines. 15 football league clubs also have betting companies as their shirt sponsor and it does not stop there. As well as having 32Red as their shirt sponsor, Championship side Leeds also have a partnership with Ladbrokes  in which they post ‘betting previews’ to their official website on match-days. On the Leeds official website on match-day against Nottingham Forest they posted things such as ‘Nailed on’ and ‘Smart money…’ and it is things like this which I can see a massive issue with. Gambling shirt sponsors are likely to never go away unless Labour were to get into power. It remains to be seen how much these deals are actually worth to the football clubs but the gambling in football figures are said to be in the billions. The trouble is with what Leeds and most other football clubs who are partnered with betting companies is that although there may be age restrictions on betting, there are no age restrictions on social media and of course football club’s official websites so anyone can see these ‘betting previews’ including children and vulnerable people and it is sending out the wrong message.

Lets be honest, gambling is fun, too much gambling is dangerous and I do not believe that football clubs can continue this way. Again on one of these betting previews that football clubs are posting on their websites it says things such as ‘Long odds, large returns’ which encourages fans that not only can they win these large returns but that also it is easy and on several of these betting previews not at any point does it give a message such as ‘when the fun stops, stop’. Part of these shirt sponsorship deals often will include that the clubs have to do these betting previews on their websites and social media. I have never seen a problem with shirt sponsorship’s with gambling firms but it is only when you look at the detail that you realise there could be a problem there.

I do not think it needs to go as far as banning gambling shirt sponsors as I reiterate that gambling is not a bad thing. Promoting it to children and whoever else however, is a bad thing and there needs to be a line where it can become controlled and actually gets the right message across.