Back unders at Anfield: Liverpool vs Roma Champions League Preview
Liverpool take on Roma in a Champions League Semi Final on Tuesday. Infogol’s Analyst previews the big game, using expected goals (xG) to generate the best bets.
Liverpool expected goals
Liverpool players and fans are used to their team creating lots of chances, regularly recording xGF numbers of 2+, however the last two Champions League matches at Anfield have been a different story.
Though they had a handsome lead from the first leg, you would still have expected Liverpool to have created more than the 1.64 xG in their 0-0 draw with Porto, while even the 3-0 scoreline against Manchester City was a flattering one, with Liverpool creating 1.54 xG.
They recorded a similar figure (1.61 xGF) in their most recent match - a 2-2 draw with West Brom which appeared to anger Jurgen Klopp – and it’s not a guarantee that they will bring their full array of attacking flair to this game.
At the back, though, Liverpool’s form since Virgil Van Dijk returned to the team has been very good, with the Dutchman helping to steady a defence that had been very leaky earlier in the campaign. Indeed, Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets in all competitions since a 2-2 draw with Spurs in early February (total xgA of 10.54 over 13 games), with Van Dijk featuring in seven of them.
Roma expected goals
The likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will always pose a threat, however they come up against a Roma defence that managed to shut out the similarly threatening forward line of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez when securing their place in the Semi-final with a 3-0 win against Barcelona earlier this month.
Since then, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have recorded two more clean sheets, including against Lazio in the Rome derby, a crucial match as each side chases a top-four spot and look to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Giallorossi have only conceded more than 2xG once in their Champions League campaign, and have limited opponents to less than 1xG on three occasions, only allowing marginally more (1.07xG) to Messi and co in their Quarter Final second leg.
Having made six changes for each of their games over the past week, with Under, Daniele De Rossi and Edin Dzeko among those players who have been rested, Roma should prove to be a hard nut to crack once again on Tuesday night.
With Liverpool’s defence proving to be one of their biggest assets at present, and Roma’s own back line proving stingy, especially in Serie A, this might not be the goalfest that some might be expecting. Under 2.5 goals looks the best value at 31/20.
Under 2.5 goals @ 31/20