Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool: Milner can score in regulation win

James Milner and Jurgen Klopp
James Milner looks a value price to score
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Liverpool can't afford to be complacent here and they probably won't be, with James Milner looking a good price to net in what should be a comfortable win, says Jamie Pacheco.

"I’ll discount 1-0 as well because Red Star have already conceded plenty in this campaign and so we’re left with 2-0 (5/1) and 3-0 (6/1). If I had to back just the one, it would be 2-0, but it’s worth dutching the two."

Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool
Tuesday October 6, 17:55
Live on BT Sport 3

Red Star up against it

I said last time out that Crvena Zvezda (we'll call them Red Star from hereon) may find the Champions League a bit too much of a step up in class for them. That they got pitted in a group with three extremely strong sides in Liverpool, PSG and Napoli wasn't particularly kind but that's the luck of the draw for you, so to speak.

They managed a 0-0 draw first up against Napoli at home and quite frankly, that may be their lot as far as their points tally for this season goes in Europe's elite club competition.

So their job here is to just make life as tough as possible for Liverpool.

Summer signings making their mark

A draw away at Arsenal isn't a bad result at all given how the Gunners have improved over the past few weeks and it's worth remembering that if anyone was going to have won that match, it was Liverpool.

The good news for Liverpool fans right now is that the new signings are starting to make an impact. Fabinho, Xherdan Shaquiri, to a lesser extent Naby Keita and above all, goalkeeper Alisson, have all made important contributions.

It should give the fans belief that they can have a big season and they'll be highly disappointed if they don't pick up at least one trophy.

Reds should win

The biggest barrier for the Reds ahead of this match is possible complacency. The temptation must surely be there to rest the likes of Mohammad Salah, Sadio Mane or Giorgino Wijnaldum but this is a must-win game for Liverpool.

Both PSG and Napoli won't expect to drop points against Red Star from their remaining games against them so Liverpool need to make sure the points are in the bag before thinking about giving key players a breather.

Odds of 1/5 look short at first glance but are probably quite justified. The 13/2 available may seem a decent price on the draw but it is also worth remembering that when Red Star held Napoli, they were extremely fortunate to get something from the game after being under the cosh for almost the entire 90 minutes.

May not be a goal-fest after all

I wouldn't be rushing to back over 2.5 goals at 1/2. Red Star will be boosted by home support and will probably be more fussed about stopping Liverpool's dangerous forwards than having a go themselves. And with Liverpool's defence looking much stronger in general, especially with Alisson a huge improvement between the sticks, you'd think the visitors should be able to keep a clean sheet here.

So with that in mind, you have to be asking: would you want to be taking 1/2 that Liverpool score three themselves? Probably not. There's a better option.

Hedge your bets on the correct score

A win to nil is available for Klopp's men at 5/6 and plenty of punters will be going in on that this midweek. But we can do better than take that price.

Assuming we think Liverpool won't concede, we can discount a score of 4-0 as too much of an ask. It's not often a team goes away in the Champions League and wins by that sort of scoreline and they may just be a little tired after putting in a big effort at the Emirates less than three days before this match. I'll discount 1-0 as well because Red Star have already conceded plenty in this campaign and so we're left with 2-0 (5/1) and 3-0 (6/1). If I had to back just the one, it would be 2-0, but it's worth dutching the two.

Milner an interesting price

Unsurprisingly, all the Liverpool players are pretty short to get a goal here. I refuse to tip up a player at odds-on away from home in the Champions League, irrespective of the opposition.

So we're going to have to snub the forwards and look elsewhere. James Milner could be worth a punt at 4/1. With Keita, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain all out injured, Klopp may have to play Milner here and he'll be on penalty duty. As we saw in Saturday, he's also occasionally good for a goal from open play so he should give you a decent run for your money.

As should Virgil Van Dijk. Every time I preview a Liverpool game I mention he seems to have one big chance a game from set-pieces. It's basic maths that given his usual price to score, you only need it to come off once in every seven or eight games to be in profit. He's 8/1 this time and it's pretty tempting.

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