Slow start for ante-post title favourites

IT was a bad start for the ante-post Sky Bet Football League favourites after none of the three market leaders were able to make a winning start to the campaign.

Middlesbrough, heavily backed into favouritism in the summer following a sustained spending spree, failed to fire in a 1-0 loss at Wolves.

Garry Monk started three of his new forwards – Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher at Molineux – but it was Wolves debutant Leo Bonatini who settled the contest.

There was a subdued start from the three beaten Championship playoff outfits after Fulham were pegged back late on by Norwich in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. Sheffield Wednesday and Reading lost at Preston and QPR  respectively.

League One favourites Blackburn have been pushed out to 5-1 after a 2-1 defeat at Southend. Rovers were made to pay for a poor first-half showing at Roots Hall, while Wigan were cut to 7-1 thanks to a 1-0 triumph at MK Dons.

League Two market leaders Mansfield twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Crewe and Luton’s stunning 8-2 demolition of Yeovil saw them cut to 5-1 joint-favourites alongside the Stags.

New Hatters signing James Collins marked his debut with a hat-trick and there was also a three-goal haul for Coventry’s Jodi Jones in their 3-0 victory over Notts County at the Ricoh.

Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY BT2

Liverpool v Hoffenheim

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hoffenheim have won just three off their last ten competitive away matches
Expert verdict
The Germans were not disgraced in the first leg – they enjoyed 63 per cent possession and narrowly lost the shot count 14-13 – but a trip to Anfield will be tougher. However, Hoffenheim have to go for it and they have shown they can cause Liverpool’s suspect defence plenty of problems.

 

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