Champions League preview: Porto vs Man City, Liverpool vs Ajax
Porto vs Man City
When these sides met last month, it was Porto who opened the scoring through Luis Diaz – but Sergio Aguero quickly equalised for the visiting Manchester City, with Ilkay Gundogan putting City ahead in the second half, before the substitute Ferran Torres wrapped things up to make it 3-1.
Is there anything to suggest Porto will enjoy a more favourable result on Tuesday at the Estadio do Dragao? The Portuguese side have won their last four games in all comps, conceding only one goal in that sequence. In the Champions League, since that defeat to City they’ve won three times, without letting in any goals against Marseille or Olympiakos.
Still, City at their best offer a superior level of quality – assuming City are at their best? Perhaps they’re not quite there yet, but Pep Guardiola’s team enjoyed a rare (for this season) high scoring victory this weekend in the Prem, spanking Burnley 5-0 – the fourth time in a row City have produced that scoreline against the Clarets at the Etihad. Which begs the question, why the hell didn’t I back 5-0 this weekend.
Business as usual hasn’t really been that usual in the Premier League for City this season, but maybe the barrage at Burnley can restore the side’s confidence in their ability to take opposing teams apart. Either way, in the Champions League City are on a run of four straight wins, and have won their three previous encounters with Porto too. City top their group over Porto by three points, and can afford to take this one relatively easy.
With the pressure off, a City victory should still be the likeliest outcome; on the basis that City have won both halves in each of their last three Champions League games, backing City to win both halves here at 18/5 looks a decent prospect too – the bet can be found in our Match Events section.
Liverpool vs Ajax
Liverpool lost 2-0 to Atalanta a week ago, and Jurgen Klopp has looked a mite rattled in recent media appearances, complaining about match schedules and “selfish” Chris Wilder’s stance on substitution allowances.
Liverpool could only draw against Brighton on Saturday, the side’s second stalemate in three league games. Are Ajax likely to provoke more perturbation from Klopp on Tuesday?
The Dutch heavyweights have played ten, won nine in the Eredivisie so far, and Liverpool’s 1-0 win at the Johan Cruyff Stadium back in October was a little scrappy, settled as it was by a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal. Will Erik ten Hag’s side be capable of taking a leaf from the Atalanta playbook and getting the better of Liverpool at Anfield? They warmed up for this one with a 5-0 win of their own at the weekend, albeit against lowly Emmen.
Ajax are only 19/5 to get the win on Tuesday – odds which hint at Liverpool’s potential vulnerability, with key players still missing. Squad player James Milner is the latest to succumb to injury, with Van Dijk, Gomez and Alexander Arnold all absent, alongside the likes of Thiago, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Ajax could still win this group with a win over Liverpool on Tuesday – so will the Amsterdam side be able to leave the Merseyside giants feeling flat this week? It’s not out of the question, is it? Ajax haven’t lost in their last four visits to England, after all. If you can’t bring yourself to go all in on the visitors, the Double Chance market might be worth a look – Ajax or the draw is a 5/4 shot.
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