Weblog: The football punter
Wing wizard Bale looks far too tricky for Maribor
The Europa League is always a bit of a minefield for punters and anyone who thought they were snapping up a bit of early value about Liverpool at Anzhi will be sorely disappointed.
Brendan Rodgers' squad selection reminds me a bit of Mrs Bunter's approach to packing for the summer holiday - he's left everything of any use at home. Suarez, Gerrard, Sterling, Liverpool's equivalent of sun cream, passports and money, have all been forgotten and even a bunch of mercenaries like Anzhi can't fail to beat the Reds' second string in Moscow.
Tottenham should have their star man in Gareth Bale available, though, and the Welsh wizard is worth backing to open the scoring against Maribor. Bale could have had a hat-trick against Norwich in the League Cup last week and was more lively than most of his team-mates in the defeat to Wigan.
Like Bale, Lionel Messi recently became a father for the first time. Apparently Messi had a dummy tucked down his sock in case he scored for Barca at the weekend. Amazingly Messi didn't notch but if Bale's got any more baby-themed celebrations lined up he could put a cot and a buggy down each sock and still outpace the Maribor defence.