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Champions League preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Real Madrid vs Liverpool


Champions League preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Champions League preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Real Madrid vs Liverpool

After banging seven past Manchester United, Liverpool fans could have been forgiven for starting to feel a sense of hope for this second leg tie against Real Madrid. Obviously, that was before losing 1-0 to Bournemouth on Saturday. Talk about a reality check – or, if you will, “Real”-ity check.

Eh, suit yourself. Whatever, it’s easy to view this visit to the Bernabeu as a lost cause. In the first leg at Anfield, Liverpool roared into a two-goal lead with just 14 minutes gone – only to concede five goals to Carlo Ancelotti’s team. In the words of Jurgen Klopp, that’s not cool.

Still, it’s possible to maintain some faint trace of optimism in the visitors pulling off a phenomenal escape here. Not because I’m a hopeless romantic, but because Liverpool have proven that occasionally, when sufficiently motivated, they can still win convincingly – just ask Erik ten Hag.

And Liverpool should at least be motivated on Wednesday. Real’s pedigree can hardly be questioned, of course. But the side have won just one of their last four games in all comps.

Furthermore, while the hosts just need to keep it tight, rigorous defensive showings and Real just don’t seem to mesh. Last year at this stage the Spanish giants beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – then lost 3-2 at home in the second leg.

That result wasn’t enough to prevent Real from progressing, admittedly. And it will likely be a similar story on Wednesday, even if the Merseyside team put in one of their more spirited performances. With that in mind, it might be worth giving the result a miss, and concentrating on goals instead.

Yes, Real’s last three Champions League games have all featured at least five goals. Five of Real’s seven games in last year’s post-group stage matches saw four or more goals scored too. If Liverpool can make a decent fist of it, there’s surely potential for goals here too; you can back over 3.5 at 5/4.

Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Napoli won the first leg 2-0 and it’s a stretch to see the visitors mounting a successful comeback against the Italians on their home turf.

If Luca Spalletti’s side can see this one out, they’ll reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Napoli fans have their sights set higher than that, of course; in some circles, the Serie A leaders are viewed as realistic contenders to lift the trophy.

It’s not all good news for the hosts; playing at home, they lost just their second league game of the season against Lazio earlier this month. Napoli remain 18 points clear of Inter in the title race, and returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Atalanta at the weekend.

As for Frankfurt, the Bundesliga side are without striker Randal Kolo Muani, sent off in the first leg. Muani is Frankfurt’s leading scorer this season; midfielder Daichi Kamada and forward Jesper Lindstrom are the next most prolific scorers, but both men have found the net just once each since the World Cup.

In their last six games in all competitions, Eintracht have won just once, too.

Combine Napoli to win and Both Teams To Score No at 7/5 – or consider backing the 2-0 for Napoli at 6/1. Each of the Italians’ last four victories have finished with that scoreline…

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