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Liverpool v Spartak Moscow: Reds set to secure progress with home win

Jurgen Klopp's men are in free-scoring form
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The Russians have pulled off a couple of decent results this season, but Evan Bartlett believes a trip to Anfield will be too much to handle...

"With both teams requiring a result of some sort, and Can and Wijnaldum looking likely to start at the back again for Liverpool, there could also be some value in backing Both Teams to Score at odds of [1.96] or better."

Liverpool v Spartak Moscow
Wednesday 6 December, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

The Reds' blistering forward line

Some eyebrows were no doubt raised on Saturday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp named Emre Can and Gigi Wijnaldum in the back three to play against Brighton. But such is the talent Liverpool have going forward that no matter how makeshift their backline is, they are always in with a chance of winning big - as they did in a 5-1 romp at the Amex.

The Reds are currently the second most in-form team in the Premier League behind Manchester City, having won five of their past six and securing a draw in the other one. Where Klopp's men have outperformed the Premier League's runaway leaders is in the goals column, having netted on 19 occasions in that recent period compared City's comparatively modest 14.

With Mo Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the mood on Saturday, Sadio Mane was given a full 90 minutes rest on the bench. The prospect of the fully-refreshed Senegalese international coming back into an already explosive front line would make the best defences in Europe nervous, let alone one that sits in third place in the Russian Premier League. Liverpool need a win to guarantee first place in Group E while a draw will be enough for at least second.

Mixed campaign for Russians

Spartak enter this final group game with a chance of making the Champions League last 16 for the first time since 2000/01. Their outstanding performance came when pulling off a shock 5-1 defeat of Sevilla on matchday three but they were also impressive enough when frustrating Liverpool in a 1-1 draw in Russia.

Unbeaten in 12 in the league, Spartak come into this game in decent form but will be left ruing two draws with bottom-placed Maribor which has left them travelling to Anfield in need of all three points to secure progression.

Quincy Promes is one of their most potent attacking threats and he will be hoping to impress against a side with whom he was linked so heavily last summer. The Dutch winger has been directly involved in 14 goals in 16 league matches this season as well as four in four in the Champions League. A rest in the weekend's win over Arsenal Tula should see him fit and firing on Wednesday night.

Spartak's need for win could be their downfall

The Reds come into this as heavy favourites at odds of [1.23] while Spartak are a distant [14]. The draw, which would see Liverpool progress to the knockout stages for the first time since 2008/09, is also a long shot at [8].

Unlike the return fixture where Spartak sat deep with a five-man defence at the Otkrytiye Arena to grind out a draw, the visitors must go for a win at Anfield. That necessity for attack could well leave them exposed against Liverpool's strike force and a cricket score could easily be on the cards unless they opt for a more defensive approach in the hope of picking off the home side on the counter. Over 2.5 Goals is a short [1.31], with Over 3.5 looking slightly more tempting at [1.96] while Liverpool -2 - a result which has landed in seven of their past 10 fixtures - looks a good option at 13/8 on the Sportsbook.

With both teams requiring a result of some sort, and Can and Wijnaldum looking likely to start at the back again for Liverpool, there could also be some value in backing Both Teams to Score at odds of [1.96] or better.

Recommended Bets

Liverpool -2 @ 13/8 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Back Both Teams to Score @ [1.96]

Evan Bartlett 2017/18 P/L

Staked: 18 pts
Returned: 17.63pts
P/L: -0.37

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