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Liege can set the standard at home to Gent

Standard Liege take on Gent
1 of 1

Belgian Pro League
7.30pm Friday
Standard Liege were strong at home last season, losing just one of 20 league games at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, and they can kick off the 2018-19 Belgian campaign with a victory over Gent.

Standard have gone through some lean times in recent years but they did better in 2017-18, finishing runners-up to Club Brugge in the title race and winning the Belgian cup for the eighth time.

Plenty of changes have been made this summer, including at head coach with for Belgium goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme replacing Ricardo Sa Pinto.

Preud'homme is well qualified for the post, having managed Standard on two previous occasions.

He led them to the title in 2007-08 and was a championship winner in the Brugge dugout in 2015-16.

In terms of the playing squad, Standard will need to get over the departure of influential midfielder Edmilson, who has been transferred to Qatari club Al-Duhail.

But Standard have made seven permanent signings, including Orlando Sa, who rejoins following a short spell in China with Henan Jianye.

Sa bagged 27 league goals in 52 appearances in his first spell at the club and could make a major impact after returning to familiar surroundings.

Standard look in good shape to challenge near the top but Gent may struggle to do likewise.

Gent's results tailed off towards the end of last season with only two wins recorded in their final eight games.

Central defenders Samuel Gigot and Stefan Mitrovic have departed for Spartak Moscow and Strasbourg and do not appear to have been adequately replaced.

Gent are hoping for a big impact from Liverpool's on-loan Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi, who scored nine league goals for minnows Mouscron last term.

However, Awoniyi may not be able to help his teammates to avoid a defeat in their opening game.

Recommendation
Standard Liege
1pt 23-20 Betway


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Sa bagged 27 league goals in 52 appearances in his first spell at the club and could make a major impact after returning to familiar surroundings
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