The comeback that Liverpool produced in the quarterfinals of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, will live long in memory. It was a stunning night of action at Anfield in which Liverpool miraculously overturned a 3-0 deficit from the first leg.
While there have been many stories of optimistic punters having cashed in on Liverpool’s 4-0 scoreline on the night, however one Irish punter took things just a little bit further with their efforts. They not only picked out the correct score but the correct first goalscorer too.
Liverpool got themselves off to a flying start when Divock Origi, filling in because neither Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino were available, popped up with the opening goal of the game in just the seventh minute. That was the platform on which they built their epic night.
The punter with miraculous foresight had played a €20 bet with Boylesports on the day of the game, for Divock Origi to score first and Liverpool to win 4-0 in what at the time, must have felt like nothing too much more than an optimistic scorecast.
The bet was taken at 215/1 odds and even though the first goalscorer was nailed early on, there was still nervous tension around, waiting for Liverpool to get their fourth goal. It arrived, with Origi getting his second off an opportunistic corner kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold. That meant the bet collected a sum of €4,320.
Lawrence Lyons of Boylesports said there were a few optimists who backed Liverpool to win 4-0 at odds of 50/1.
“A huge pat on the back goes to one of our punters in Limerick who nailed the 4-0 scoreline along with Origi scoring first at odds of 215/1. It was a cracking bet and I wonder if they could advise us on this weekend’s Lotto numbers.”
Liverpool arguably get their toughest test of this Champions League campaign as they step out at the Camp Nou to face Barcelona in the first leg of this semi-final on Wednesday evening. Being able to return to Anfield for the second leg with Barcelona not out of sight, is going to be vitally important for the Premier League side.
Even though they are facing a Barcelona team who will are on a massive streak of undefeated form at home in Europe, Liverpool are the only English side ever to win at the Nou Camp in European action. The odds on Liverpool to beat Barcelona are 10/3* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on April 29th, 2019 at 6:15 p.m.)
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on April 29th, 2019 at 6:15 p.m.)
The Reds were not drawn in the easiest of groups as they had to go up against French champions PSG and strong Italian outfit Napoli. However, the Reds did enough to get themselves through, despite losing all three of their away fixtures. They definitely step things up in the round of 16 where they went up against heavyweights Bayern Munich. After a home draw in the first leg, Liverpool went to Germany and posted a superb victory.
That moved them onto the slightly easier tie in the quarter-finals as they took on Portuguese side, Porto. Liverpool were on a four-match losing streak away from home in Europe before they picked up their second leg victory at Bayern Munich by a 3-1 scoreline. They won their away game at Porto then by a 4-1 margin. So even though they have lost five of their last 12 European fixtures, and all five of those defeats in that sequence happening away from home, their form has suddenly picked up.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in five European games, winning four of those. Without question, this is going to be the toughest game of their campaign so far. Getting something on the board could be crucial for the return leg. How precious would an away goal be for the Reds in this game? They do have the attacking power with both Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in fantastic scoring form currently. Will they be able to strike out on the counter-attack against Barcelona?
Liverpool are W8 D2 in two-legged UEFA knockout ties with Spanish sides and they have won all three previous two-legged ties against Barcelona in Europe. In terms of matches against Barcelona, Liverpool lead 3-2 in the head-to-head from eight previous games. Liverpool have however only taken one win in their last eight games against Spanish clubs (D2 L5) so that will throw a bit of a question mark over them. However, the Reds are undefeated in their last 19 games across all competitions.
Just put into context of what Barcelona are going to bring to the table, they are undefeated in their last 31 European home games. That is a massive record from such a massive club. However the interesting thing about this tie now is that not only are they behind Liverpool in the head-to-head, but Barcelona have lost three of their last five Champions League semi-final ties. So they have been bottling it a bit at this stage of the campaign.
Will Liverpool be able to take advantage? There is of course so many positive stats surrounding Barcelona. They have for example won 15 of the 25 two-legged ties against English sides in Europe, including the last five. They have lost just one of their last nine ties against English opposition. Already this season from their group stage games against Spurs and quarter-final games against Manchester United, Barcelona have won three of their four games against English opposition. The Catalans have only suffered one defeat in their last 15 European games against Premier League sides, winning 11.
Barcelona have only ever lost two home games in Europe against English teams (W21 D11) but again the fascinating thing is that those two defeats were against Liverpool. That having been said Barcelona hold a W8 D2 record in their last 10 home games against English visitors. This season at home in Europe they have won four of their five games played (D1) and they are unbeaten in 13 knockout games at the Camp Nou (W11 D2). They are the only undefeated team left in the competition and they, of course, have Lionel Messi who has 10 goals to his name in this campaign. Barcelona are currently undefeated in 22 games across all competitions, unbeaten in 18 at home.
This has the making of such a fantastic game because Liverpool are just not going to crawl into their shell and try and produceda defensive performance. They are bold enough to have a go at Barcelona, particularly on the counter-attack. It is worth having a look at both teams getting on the scoresheet because Liverpool can trouble any defence in Europe at the moment.
The odds-on Liverpool to be Barcelona in this first leg at 10/3 are justifiably long, but right now in Europe if there is one team to back to go the Camp Nou and claim a victory, it is the Reds.
Two El Clasico fixtures in the space of four days. It doesn’t get much better than that really. Real Madrid and Barcelona will be showing down once again at the Bernabeu on the weekend. In midweek Barcelona went there and destroyed their opponents in the Copa del Rey.
Will it be more of the same from the Catalans who are driving towards a league title? The odds on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid are at 13/10* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm) which makes them favourites
Real Madrid 9/5
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm)
Barcelona arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi final. Things stood even at 1-1 after the first leg, Barcelona having had to fight back from being behind in that game. So they were expecting a tough challenge but they found the going fairly easy on the night as they pulled away to a 3-0 win which included a brace from Luis Suarez.
Suarez had been on a five-match goal drought but has now scored three goals in his last two games for the Catalans. That was a superb display from them and that should have given them a tremendous lift for this quick return. Barcelona are currently top of La Liga by seven points over Atletico Madrid, with Real Madrid a further two points back. So a win here for Barcelona and that would see them take a big step towards another league title.
Barcelona are running on a thirteen match undefeated streak of league form at the moment and they have not lost any of their last nine on the road. They have collected win in five of their last six away from the Nou Camp (W1). Barcelona are the top scorers in the league this season with a 65-goal haul. That is 22 more than what Real Madrid have managed to produce across the course of the season.
Barcelona have the upper hand in the recent head to head between themselves and their rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona are on a five-match undefeated streak of form against Los Merengues now. Following their midweek win at the Bernabeu, that is back to back 3-0 success there in all competitions from Barcelona. Barcelona have only lost one of their last four visits there as well across all competitions. So they have reason to turn up with confidence.
Real Madrid lost their last home game, a 2-1 reverse against Girona. That was a big upset but it was their second defeat in their last four games on home soil actually in the league. Throw in their midweek defeat against Barcelona and it’s not been going too well for them. While their form has been better than it was over the first part of the season, there are cracks which are starting to appear there.
It looks as if half of their team could be leaving in the summer. Gareth Bale who scored a winning penalty last weekend at Levante didn’t want to celebrate with his teammates. He is available to play in this one after not being punished for a celebration gesture in a previous match. Sergio Ramos has a cloud hanging over him after being charged with deliberately receiving a booking in the Champions League. Then there is their recent form which hasn’t been great.
Barcelona can make a bold statement in this one. Real Madrid didn’t really have an answer against them in the Copa del Rey. They will be a bit more dialled in this one, but you get the impression it’s not going to take much for their heads to drop if Barcelona get themselves in front. The odds on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid away from home at 13/10 look a pretty good offering for this big El Clasico showdown* (betting odds taken from bet365 on February 28th, 20198 at 7:03 pm).
Barcelona got a bit of a taste of their own medicine in midweek. They have known to pull off the unthinkable in the Champions League, such as in their epic and record-breaking fight back against PSG in the 2016/17 competition. Barcelona were 4-0 down for the first leg and found themselves 3-1 up with two minutes to go back at the Nou Camp, Edison Cavani’s away goal for PSG leaving the Spaniards needing three goals.
Then Neymar netted a free kick, a penalty and then Sergi Roberto popped up with a crazy equaliser deep into stoppage time to win the tie. That is still arguably the greatest ever comeback in the history of the Champions League, but Roma’s effort against Barcelona in this seasons’ round of sixteen has to be pretty close.
Barcelona were 3-1 up from the first leg at the Nou Camp and their trip to Rome was just all about game management and seeing out the tie. They weren’t prepared for the energy that Roma were prepared to throw at them, the Italians were well and truly fired up diving into tackles, constantly closing their opponents down and getting forward at every opportunity. They did the unthinkable and managed to turn the tie on its head with a 3-0 home success.
Ahead of the second leg, Roma were 20/1 odds at Ladbrokes to qualify for the last four and only six punters toko the bait.
The biggest of those wagers at Ladbrokes was £30.
Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “The odds are there to be defied, and that’s exactly what Roman did. Fair play to the 16 customers out there who fancied David to take on Goliath on Tuesday evening.”
Real Madrid 13/8, Bayern Munich 7/4, Liverpool 3/1, Roma 10/1* (betting odds taken on March 12th, 2018 at 3:44 p.m.)
Most Liverpool fans will have been pretty upset about Philippe Coutinho’s recent transfer to Barcelona. It was a deal that was pretty much just on hold from the end of the summer transfer window as the Catalans wasted no time in coming back when the January transfer window opened, to get their midfield maestro, seen as a successor to Andres Iniesta.
Boylesports announced that up and down the country, that they would offer Liverpool fans free bets in return for any redundant Philippe Coutinho shirts handed in. This was after the bookmaker was inundated with disgruntled Reds fans following the transfer. Anyone wanting to trade in their shirt had until the close of business on Wednesday, January 10th to do so.
All of the jerseys collected by Boylesports will be passed on as charity donations.
Lawrence Lyons, Spokesperson for Boylesports commented: ” Seeing so many disgruntled Reds around we thought what better way to cheer them up than with free bets, especially after some may have just received their Coutinho 10 jerseys as Christmas presents, mere weeks before he jumped ship. ”
He added: ” Punters have until close of business on Wednesday to call into their local Boylesports shop to trade in their Liverpool Coutinho shirts and we will reimburse them with a €20 free bet and put the unwanted jerseys to good use by donating them to charity.”
After the Brazilian completed his €160m move to Barcelona on Monday afternoon, it was announced that he will be wearing the famous number 14 shirt for the Catalans, a number once worn by Johan Cruyff.
Games don’t get any bigger than the El Clasico and we have another hot showdown between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Sunday when the two met up in league action. There was a 1-1 draw between them earlier in the season at the Nou Camp, but Barcelona needs better than that in this crucial game. Real Madrid are in the driving seat in the race for the title, holding a three-point lead over Barcelona with a game in hand too. If they stretch that out to six, then they aren’t likely going to be caught.
Barcelona though have lost two of their last three away games in La Liga and throw on top some poor defeats out on the road in the Champions League, then they aren’t at their best at the moment. Real Madrid have gone W3 D1 L2 in their six home games against Barcelona in all competitions and they have hit the back of the net in each of their last 42 league games now and they will be confident of taking full advantage of home soil on Sunday to put the title race to bet. Will they be able to get that important win?
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