Liverpool won't have it all their own way at Maribor
Slovenian champions can dig in
Champions League Group E
BT Sport ESPN, 7.45pm Tuesday
Maribor are supposedly the weakest link in Champions League Group E, yet the Slovenian champions will be looking at the formbook and thinking Liverpool are there for the taking at the Stadion Ljudski.
The Reds have flown into Slovenia on the back of three straight draws and a run of just one win in eight.
They could certainly do with a win after draws against Spartak Moscow and Sevilla and they are long odds-on to get it.
But Maribor are no mugs, certainly at home, and they look a cracking bet on the handicap receiving a two-goal start.
Liverpool should be a cut above Darko Milanic’s men but, with defence-pickers like Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana absent, and against a team in good form, this doesn’t look a hugely enticing tie for the Premier League outfit.
The clean sheet against Manchester United on Saturday will have proved to themselves that they are capable of stopping top teams and whoever Jurgen Klopp picks at the back ought to be capable of repelling Marcos Tavares and his colleagues.
And we know that Liverpool will have plenty of the ball and unload as many shots as they can, though their accuracy levels this season aren’t the best.
Liverpool have made mistakes against Sevilla and Spartak which have cost them and, as it stands, they are only a point better off than Maribor, who have also shared the spoils with the Russians.
More Champions League
This will be Maribor’s ninth Champions League tie of the season having gone through three qualifiers to make the group stage.
They are also unbeaten in their league this season, unbeaten in their last eight home European fixtures and got a creditable 1-1 draw against Chelsea in their last home showdown with English opposition in 2014-15.
Maribor are also undefeated at home in 11 with eight clean sheets in that sequence.
Liverpool have lost only one of 12 this term in Premier League and European action yet this is still a potentially awkward trip.
2pts 21-20 bet365
Defender Dennis Sme is a long-term crock. Centre-back Marko Suler’s ankle is a concern.
Joe Gomez is available after a European ban. Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana are injured.
Liverpool have drawn five of their last seven matches.
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