Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Liverpool and City should make last 16

Pep Guardiola embraces Sergio Aguero
1 of 1

Group E
Liverpool would not have expected to have been favourites to win their after being housed in pot three for the draw but the footballing gods have been kind and Jurgen Klopp's men should make the last 16.

When it comes to the highest level of this competition the Reds' rearguard will come under greater pressure but for now the weakness in their side should not be a hindrance.

Liverpool highlighted their forward prowess with a 6-3 aggregate success over a dangerous Hoffenheim side in the playoffs with the front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all hitting the target.

That result was achieved without Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian should still be capable of making an impact after he failed to force through his transfer to Barcelona.

Sevilla can progress alongside Liverpool. Keeping Steven N'Zonzi was of huge importance in the summer and the returning playmaker Ever Banega is back at the club where he did so well previously.

Ganso has started the season well and the pace of Luis Muriel will be important as Sevilla hit teams on the counter.

Maribor will do well just to avoid bottom spot and top seeds Spartak are already well off the pace in the defence of their Russian Premier League title.

There are also disciplinary issues to overcome after Luiz Adriano stormed down the tunnel following his substitution in the win over Rubin.

Liverpool-Sevilla dual forecast
1pt 8-13 Sky Bet

Read more

Who will lift the trophy?

Top scorer

Didi Hamann

Group A-D best bets

Group F
Cancel any plans you may have pencilled in for October 17 and November 1 because you will need to give the Manchester City v Napoli fixtures your full attention.

The matches that throw Pep Guardiola into battle against Maurizio Sarri should be a thing of beauty.

Both teams are blessed with brilliant attacking flair under managers who are unlikely to hold back. It promises to be similar to the Monaco versus City last-16 ties of last season when the Premier League side went out on away goals after a 6-6 draw.

The good news for those who love to watch attacking football is that both should qualify for the knockout stages.

City still seem vulnerable at centre-back but the improvements in goal with Ederson and the signings of full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will at least help them.

Going forward they should overwhelm Feyenoord and Shakhtar, while the same can be said of a Napoli side who took Nice to the cleaners in their Champions League playoff. The 4-0 aggregate margin flattered the Ligue 1 side if anything.

Dutch champions Feyenoord ply their trade in a weak league - Ajax and PSV Eindhoven are already out of Europe - and Shakhtar are not the force of old, which is understandable given the political problems in Donetsk.

Man City-Napoli dual forecast
2pts 8-13 Coral

Group G
If there is to an upset it could come in Group G. Leipzig seem to be underrated in a section where the difference between the best and worst teams is less than usual for the Champions League.

Monaco are favourites after reaching the semi-finals last season but they look vulnerable at the odds given the change in personnel over the summer.

Good players remain in Leonardo Jardim's squad and Stevan Jovetic and Balde Keita are particularly decent signings, although the team is weaker without Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kylian Mbappe.

Saturday's 4-0 derby defeat at Nice does not bode well for the matchday one trip to Germany and if Leipzig get their noses in front they will take some pegging back.

Timo Werner and Naby Keita are outstanding talents and on the break Leipzig could light up this season's Champions League.

Porto have made a perfect start to their domestic campaign with five wins-to-nil to raise hopes of a better campaign but it has been a soft run of games for new boss Sergio Conceicao.

Turkish champions Besiktas can also play their part in a group that should be tight.

1pt 11-4 Hills

Group H
There is always a group of death in these competitions and Uefa have saved the best for last with European champions Real Madrid pitted against Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham, while Apoel of Cyprus could finish this section pointless.

Madrid finished second to Dortmund at this stage last season but can reverse that form as the Germans are not quite as strong since Ousmane Demebe was sold to Barcelona.

Real may still have their struggles against two decent opponents but Zinedine Zidane's outfit are still superior in every department to Dortmund and Spurs.

The Spanish champions possess genuine world-class talent such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema and the real battle is set to take place between Dortmund and Spurs.

Tottenham have had to give up home advantage for the season with their Wembley woes well-documented as they look to improve on last season's group-stage exit.

The depth of squad has improved despite the sale of Kyle Walker with Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez and Fernando Llorente arriving in north London to increase Mauricio Pochettino's options.

There is not a great deal between the team who finished second in the Premier League and third in the Bundesliga but Dortmund usually make the most of home advantage and that could be the deciding factor, just as the odds suggest.

The sides meet at Wembley on matchday one and it's going to be massive for both clubs.

Manchester United 4-9 & Real Madrid 4-9
1pt double Betway

Today's top sports betting stories 

Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport

Cancel any plans you may have for October 17 and November 1 because you will need to give the Manchester City v Napoli fixtures your full attention
E.W. Terms
Sky bet