Weblog: The football punter

Klopp's men look value to avoid Wembley defeat

BT Sport 1, 3pm Sunday

Jurgen Klopp has twice beaten Pep Guardiola in the German equivalent of the Community Shield and he could have a better chance of landing the hat-trick than the odds suggest.

Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 win in 2013 over Bayern Munich and 2-0 success 12 months later suggests Klopp has his teams a little further ahead in terms of fitness at this stage of the season which could be important when weighing up a punt on Liverpool versus Manchester City at Wembley.

This is still a glorified friendly despite the glamorous surroundings which makes it difficult to recommend a bet on City at odds-on.

Guardiola has already said he won't play two of his Brazilians - goalkeeper Ederson and midfield anchor Fernandinho - after their exertions in their successful Copa America campaign but Klopp has taken a different approach with his Samba Stars.

Number one Alisson and striker Roberto Firmino both started their last friendly, a 3-1 win over Lyon in France on Wednesday, while Fabinho was surprisingly overlooked for the South American tournament despite an excellent finish to the campaign for the Merseysiders.

Egypt's shock early exit on home soil at the Africa Cup of Nations means Mohamed Salah also returned earlier than expected and the prolific wide man was on target in midweek.

Only Senegalese star Sadio Mane sits out the match for Liverpool of their first-team squad and Klopp has many options to attack a more makeshift City side.

City, the treble winners last season and back-to-back Premier League champions, are clear favourites to maintain their domestic dominance once everyone is back in the groove.

Guardiola is maybe thinking of a more long-term approach whereas Klopp will know his Liverpool side cannot afford to let the champions into an early Premier League advantage so will gamble on being able to sustain the pace.

It worked up to a point last season as Liverpool led by seven points going into 2019 and were still able to go strong at the finish as they were crowned European champions for a sixth time. 

They were just beaten to the Premier League title by a phenomenal outfit - City have accumulated 198 points in the last two campaigns.

The interesting aspect is how many minutes Guardiola gives to his South American contingent with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus getting lengthy holidays, leaving City slightly lighter than normal in the attacking third.

That will become even more significant should Leroy Sane, the subject of sustained transfer interest from Bayern Munich, not be in the right frame of mind to feature.

Raheem Sterling, therefore, could be left to shoulder the burden of City's attack from the first whistle. Sterling has played primarily as a striker in City's pre-season games and scored against West Ham, Kitchee of Hong Kong and Yokohama of Japan.

Those looking to support City may like to back Sterling to score first, but his former club look overpriced to at least avoid defeat.

Liverpool draw no bet

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Match in Focus

17:00 Th 14Nov SKY

Turkey v Iceland

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Seven of Turkey’s last nine home games had under 2.5 goals
Expert verdict
Group H leaders Turkey can qualify for Euro 2020 with a win on Thursday, and they will be relying on their rock-solid defence to see them through. The hosts have kept a six clean sheets in eight qualifiers and take on an Iceland side who have been involved in a series of low-scoring games.