Liverpool welcome Leipzig to Anfield for the second leg of this last-16 Champions League tie (3pm ET Wednesday).
Can the Reds build on their first-leg lead? Or will the visitors take advantage of an out-of-sorts home side and turn things around? Read on for our Liverpool vs Leipzig predictions, picks and full betting preview.
Things went from bad to worse for Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, as their winless run at Anfield continued. Fulham were the latest team to deal Jurgen Klopp’s men a painful blow. The reigning Premier League champions, who for some time have known that they will soon have to give up their crown, have lost each of their last two games, scoring zero goals in the process, while they have lost six of their last eight in all competitions. Such form doesn’t exactly bode well ahead of a big European fixture.
In contrast, since losing the first leg, Leipzig have gone on a winning run. Julian Nagelsmann’s men have won each of their last four fixtures, scoring an impressive 11 goals, and keeping three clean sheets, in the process. Such form should mean that the visitors go to Anfield feeling upbeat.
There can be no denying that this Liverpool side is currently in a bad way. They are finding goals hard to come by, they are struggling to keep things tight, and they are seemingly finding it impossible to carry out what appear to be the simplest of tasks. Sunday’s home fixture against a relegation-threatened Fulham appeared to represent the perfect opportunity for the Reds to build momentum ahead of this UCL clash, but they just weren’t at the races as they slumped to a 0-1 defeat.
What did the first leg show?
Liverpool won the first leg, by a seemingly comfortable two goals to nil, though it’s not as if they completely outplayed their German counterparts. In fact, it was a relatively even game, a game that was decided by two rather catastrophic defensive errors. Had Liverpool not had two goals handed to them on a plate, we would probably be talking about a tie that was still goalless ahead of the return leg.
In Germany, it was Liverpool who came out on top in terms of expected goals, posting 1.8 to Leipzig’s 1.4. If we consider that much of that number came from two huge chances presented to them courtesy of defensive errors, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that Leipzig were slightly more creative than their opponents.
While the results currently being churned out at Anfield are worrying, what is perhaps more worrying is that Liverpool are starting to struggle when it comes to creating chances. Against Fulham on Sunday, the Reds went much of the contest without testing the opposing goalkeeper, while much of the same can be said for their 0-1 defeat against Chelsea a week ago. In those two fixtures, Liverpool created a combined total of 1.3 expected goals for, which by their own lofty standards is weak. In all competitions, Liverpool have now failed to find the net in six of their last seven home matches. Such a stat should fill Leipzig with plenty of confidence.
Visitors on the up
Since their defeat in the first leg, which wasn’t entirely warranted, as touched on in this preview above, Leipzig have knuckled down and produced several strong performances. They’ve scored at least twice in each of their four matches since last facing Liverpool, while they have been creating a host of scoring opportunities, averaging in 1.53 expected goals for per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga since the first leg of this tie. Impressive.
What is also impressive is the fact that they have been keeping teams at bay, shutting out three of their last four opponents in Germany. Moreover, they have been nullifying the opposition threat, which bodes well ahead of a game against a Liverpool side that is finding it increasingly tough to create openings. Last time out against Freiburg, Leipzig conceded just 0.1 expected goals, while they have surrendered an average of just 0.66 per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga since the first leg.
Visiting goals on the menu
Given their European pedigree and general dominance at home in the Champions League in recent years, Liverpool come into this match as warm favorites, despite their recent slump. However, those who feel that Leipzig can still have a say in this tie shouldn’t be put off siding with the visitors. It is they who’ve produced better numbers of late, while they are the ones who come here full of confidence. At the prices, preference is for ‘Leipzig to Score Over 1.5 Goals’.
As mentioned previously in this preview, Die Roten Bullen, which translates as “The Red Bulls” in English, have been in fine scoring form of late, scoring at least twice in each of their last four, as well as in seven of their last eight. This is a side set up not only to create lots of chances and score goals, but a team that is adept at hurting their opponents on the break, which given Liverpool’s tendency to press forward at Anfield, seems relevant here.
Neither Fulham nor Chelsea really set up to go for multiple goals at Anfield, but both Everton and Man City recently exploited Liverpool’s less-than-full-strength defence at this venue, scoring multiple goals each. Leipzig’s need for at least two goals should keep the visitors pushing for the duration.
So the conclusion of this preview and our Liverpool vs Leipzig prediction and pick for this Champions League game is:
- Bet on Leipzig to Score Over 1.5 Goals @ +130 with Bovada.