Simon Mail previews the midweek clash at Middlesbrough where Liverpool's weaknesses at the back could ensure goals at both ends...
"Liverpool are a constant threat going forward but their weaknesses at the back will always give the opposition hope. The Reds are the top goalscorers in the competition with 37 goals but have only kept one clean sheet away in the league."
Middlesbrough 6.411/2 v Liverpool 1.625/8; The Draw 4.3100/30
It has been a reasonably solid start to the season for Middlesbrough following promotion from the Championship. Aitor Karanka's side have based their gameplan on being defensively strong and this has made them stubborn opponents in the Premier League. Boro have already claimed draws against Arsenal and Manchester City, which underlines the organisation within their team which has frustrated some of the better sides in the division.
Their season was always going to be judged on whether they avoid relegation and Boro have given themselves a springboard for survival with 15 points from as many games. Karanka's side are 16th in the table having won three matches. A lack of goals, having only scored 13, will be a concern but their defensive record, with just 16 conceded, is one of the best in the league.
After an inconsistent first campaign for Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have made significant progress during the German's first full season in charge. The team have undoubtedly benefited domestically, from not being involved in Europe, but have produced some exceptional attacking football which has taken them third with just two defeats in the league.
But their defensive weaknesses have been exposed in recent weeks after dropping five points in the last two games. Liverpool somehow contrived to throw away a 3-1 lead at Bournemouth last week as they were beaten 4-3. The Reds stumbled again on Sunday after being held to a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham. These results and their lapses at the back suggest the club are still some way off being a title winning squad.
Liverpool are obvious favourites for this match but there is no value in their price of 1.625/8 especially considering their recent slip-ups. Klopp's side have failed to win three of their last four league games which is more than enough evidence to avoid lumping on the visitors at odds-on.
Boro are a big price at 6.411/2 to claim a home win but there are also doubts surrounding them which suggest the outsiders are worth swerving. Karanka's side have only managed to beat Bournemouth and strugglers Hull at the Riverside Stadium and it may be expecting too much for them to defeat Liverpool.
The draw is a tempting option at 4.3100/30 and looks to offer the best of the three bets in terms of value. Boro have drawn the joint most amount of games in the league, with six this season, although only one of these came at home. Liverpool have also drawn two of their last four Premier League matches so this outcome certainly warrants a second glance.
Both teams to score
Liverpool are a constant threat going forward but their weaknesses at the back will always give the opposition hope. The Reds are the top goalscorers in the competition with 37 goals but have only kept one clean sheet away in the league. Both teams have scored in 11 of their 15 matches in the league and Klopp's team have conceded six goals in the last two games.
On the face of it, Boro would not be the obvious team to back in this market but facing Liverpool makes this must bet material. The team have netted against the Reds in the last five clashes and have proved a handful in recent meetings. Both teams to score is generously priced at 1.9210/11, considering this involves a prolific Liverpool side capable of conceding against any team, so is a confident selection for the game.
Jonathan Moss will take charge of this midweek game with the referee dishing out two red cards in 14 matches this season. Moss also sent off seven players in 33 matches during the previous campaign.
Divock Origi is the first Liverpool player to score in four successive games in all competitions since Daniel Sturridge in February 2014. The striker is available at 2.56/4 to continue his scoring run on Wednesday.
Back Both Teams to Score @ 1.9210/11
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