Benfica vs. Liverpool Predictions: Two stats based bets for this all important Champions League tie
The Champions League returns on Tuesday and we're into the quarters! We will have full match previews on site for all four matches and first up we've tasked @OddsT3rrier to look into the first leg tie between Benfica and Liverpool. It's live on BT Sport with a 8pm kick off time.
Benfica vs. Liverpool Tips
Liverpool come into this tie in absolutely obscene form - losing just one game this calendar year, a 1-0 loss against Inter which was enough to progress to this stage in the Champions league. In that time they've won 17 of 20 games in all competitions and are seeking an unprecedented quadruple, something that was as long as 1000/1 at the start of the season. Here they enter the Eagles nest with a trip to the magnificent Estádio da Luz in Lisbon to face the most decorated club in Portuguese football, SL Benfica.
O Glorioso have surpassed all expectations in reaching the quarter finals this season. Having defeated Spartak Moscow and PSV in qualifying to reach the tournament proper, they then knocked out Barcelona after finishing 2nd in the group behind Bayern. Another huge shock followed when they eliminated Ajax in the round of 16, to set up this massive clash against the Reds. Benfica sit 3rd in the Primeira Liga and will likely have to go through Champions League qualification again next season but can they pull off their biggest upset so far and knock out mighty Liverpool?
Nélson Veríssimo is without his namesake Lucas Veríssimo and Rodrigo Pinho for this one and is also sweating on the fitness of former QPR star Adel Taarabt, who missed the recent 3-2 loss to Braga.
Jürgen Klopp also has injury doubts in the form of Joel Matip, Naby Keïta and Curtis Jones. Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz should return after being rested for the Watford game at the weekend.
I firmly expect Liverpool to win this one and given their miserly odds of 2/5 to do so, I'll be steering well clear of that and instead concentrating on a couple of player props.
First up I've gone for Benfica second striker Matias Goncalo Ramos to be carded. The 20-year-old starlet is one of the bright future hopes of Portuguese football having starred at both U19 and U21 level, finishing runner up in the European Championships with both. Since breaking into Benfica's first team in 2020, Ramos has been a regular starter this year. Making 24 starts and scoring seven goals. He has however, also picked up a bit of a reputation of a yellow card merchant. In all competitions this year he has notched seven cautions, including four in nine games in the Champions League. At those levels the 10/3 on offer for him to collect another seems really good value. He's up against perhaps the best central defender in world football in Virgil van Dijk and has the possibility of getting frustrated and lashing out.
Talking of van Dijk; I have based my second pick firmly around the Dutch colossus at the heart of the Liverpool back line. The 30-year-old has shown no signs of ill affect, after the horrific injury suffered after a clash with Jordan Pickford last year, which derailed Liverpool's title defence. Since returning, van Dijk has been his usual indefatigable self, leading the side by way of example and is ridiculously hard to beat.
Firstly I've gone for van Dijk to notch a shot on target. The centre-back ranks fifth in both shots (28) and shots on target (12) for Liverpool this term and has seven shots on target in his last 10 Premier League matches. He's also had two shots on target in his five Champions League outings so can clearly register on the biggest stage.
I've combined this with a regular favourite on these pages c/o of our resident Liverpool fan Scott Thornton - van Dijk passes, on this occasion over 75.5 passes in the match. Van Dijk averages 77.82 passes per match this year and made 109 passes on Saturday vs Watford. Whilst it's clear he won't see as much of the ball on Tuesday in Lisbon he should still clear that line. If Liverpool get an early lead, chances are they may try killing a fair amount of time passing the ball around at the back.
The two bets combined pay 4/1 using bet365's bet builder feature.
If you follow either selection then good luck and gamble responsibly.
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