Will Liverpool and Man City miss key men in Champions League showdowns?

Who will be missed more, Sergio Aguero or Daniel Sturridge?

Who will be missed more, Sergio Aguero or Daniel Sturridge?

While Chelsea and Arsenal have sealed their progress to the Champions League second round with a game to spare, things are not so simple for the remaining two Premier League representatives.

A combination of tough opponents and underwhelming performances have left Liverpool and Manchester City with a tough task to qualify, but both have their fate in their own hands going into matchday 6.

Liverpool v FC Basel Betting Odds:

Liverpool win 7/10

Basel win 7/2

Draw 53/20

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Liverpool’s return to European football’s top table for the first time in five years has been overshadowed by attacking woes, with Daniel Sturridge’s absence through injury adding to the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona. Strikers Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert have scored just once each in the five group games so far, with Brendan Rodgers’ side picking up just one more point after a narrow win over Ludogorets in their opening game.

However victory over FC Basel would be enough to ensure progress behind group winners Real Madrid. The Swiss champions edged past the Reds at home thanks to a Marco Streller goal, but have won just one of their last five away games in the competition. That was in England, though, when a Streller winner made the difference against Chelsea last season.

An absent striker is the main story for Manchester City as well, with the injury picked up by Sergio Aguero in Saturday’s victory over Everton ruling the Argentine out of Wednesday’s trip to Roma. And after his hat-trick in a last-gasp win over Bayern Munich, it is fair to say that Aguero will be missed, with Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko both yet to score in the competition this season.

Like their fellow Premier League club, City have just one win from five games so far. However, due to a quirk in the Champions League’s head-to-head tiebreaker, Manuel Pellegrini’s men could progress with six points or exit with eight. All they know is defeat in the Italian capital (or a goalless draw) would see them eliminated.

Will we have a repeat of 2012-13, where two English sides failed to make it past the group stage, or could we still see the perfect qualification record enjoyed by Premier League outfits last season?

Betting Instinct tip Liverpool to win and Manchester City to win or draw is 2.6 with Intertops.eu

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter.

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Bulls have Europa League wings!

Basel vs. Salzburg in the europa League

FC Salzburg have their sights set on Europa League glory.

They may have been forced to drop the name of their main sponsor when they play in the competition, but there is little doubt that Austrian outfit FC Salzburg have been given Europa Cup wings this season. After winning all six of their group phase encounters, the Bulls continued to stun experts around the continent by thrashing Dutch league-leaders Ajax in the last thirty two.

Motivated by an article on the Dutch side’s homepage which described them as a “sparring partner”, Salzburg’s aggressive style of play took Ajax completely by surprise in the first leg in Amsterdam. They left their opponents with absolutely no time or space to work with and produced some thrilling football on the counter attack themselves before running out 3:0 winners. The return leg, in front of a full house of 30,000, ended in a 3-1 win for the Bulls and the whole city now believes that the team has got what it takes to go a long way in the competition this year.

Next up are Swiss side FC Basel who just failed to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League in a group that saw Chelsea and Schalke advance. Despite their impressive success in Europe’s elite competition in recent years, Basel coach Murat Yakin will have been warned by what he saw Salzburg do to Ajax and there is little chance of the Austrians being underestimated again.

Salzburg, however, are running away with the domestic league title and have forgotten what it is like to lose both at home and abroad. Confidence in German-coach Roger Schmidt’s side is absolutely sky-high and it will take two fine performances by Basel to put the brakes on the Bulls’ current head of steam!

FC Basel vs. FC Salzburg, First-Leg Odds

Basel                     3.0
Draw                     3.4
Salzburg               2.2

Team to Qualify

Basel                     2.75
Salzburg               1.4

Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct as of today, but subject to change.

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.