The fourth matchday of the Champions League group stages takes place this week. George Pitts looks ahead to Tuesday's action.
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Liverpool v Genk
It will be interesting to see what Liverpool do here ahead of their big game with Manchester City on Sunday. Do they:
- Start a strong team and see the game off before resting players?
- Rest some of their key men and field their fringe players against Genk?
It would be a surprise to see their front three all starting, especially with Mo Salah's recent ankle issues, and, with this in mind, the bookies already have Divock Origi as odds-on to score.
Even with their fringe players, and given Genk's poor record in the Champions League, the feeling is Liverpool can still run out comfortable winners at Anfield.
They have, in their two Group E wins, scored in the opening 10 minutes - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in Genk and Mane v Salzburg. With this in mind, the 21/10 price on them to be leading after a quarter of an hour looks a good way to go against a Genk side which conceded six on their last away outing in Europe.
- Genk’s only away European visit to England was in October 2011, when they were beaten 5-0 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League group stages.
- In all European competition, Liverpool are unbeaten in 23 games at Anfield (W17 D6 L0) since losing 3-0 to Real Madrid in October 2014 in the UEFA Champions League.
- Genk have played more matches in the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League without winning than any other club (15 – W0 D8 L7), with their 4-1 defeat to Liverpool on MD3 taking them ahead of Floriana FC and Shamrock Rovers, who both have 14 winless games.
- Liverpool have scored four goals in back to back UEFA Champions League games – only three sides have netted four or more goals in three consecutive matches in the competition’s history; Liverpool in December 2007, Paris Saint-Germain in November 2017 and Real Madrid in September 2014.
- Genk have conceded at least five goals in each of their last three away UEFA Champions League matches – the first team to do so in the history of the competition since 1992-93. Including the European Cup, no team has ever conceded 5+ in four consecutive away games (five other teams have done so in three in a row).
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Chelsea v Ajax
This Group A clash should be a cracker at Stamford Bridge, with the outcome possibly deciding who will top the standings come the end of the campaign.
Chelsea stole the points in the reverse fixture with Michy Batshuayi's late strike (pictured above) in Amsterdam and the Champions League semi-finalists will travel to London with confidence and they can give it a good go.
Frank Lampard's side, although they are getting better as the season goes on, lost their only home game in the competition - against Valencia - and Ajax can at least get on the score sheet.
Erik ten Hag's side plenty of goalscoring options - in the Eredivisie Quincy Promes (eight), David Neres (six), Dusan Tadic (six), Hakim Ziyech (five) and Klaas Jan Huntelaar (five) all have five or more goals to their name and they have also had contributions from further afield too.
There are some interesting markets in their favour and the anytime goalscorer bet is one that has no reliance on the result in a match that has a good chance of goals.
Ziyech has a goal and assist to his name in the Champions League and averages nearly three shots per game, while in the league he has more shots per game rate than any other Ajax player with 4.7.
He had three efforts v Chelsea and should start in Ajax's attacking line, making the near 4/1 price on him worthy of a small play.
Best bet: Hakim Ziyech to score anytime at 18/5
- Ajax have never lost an away UEFA Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019. Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.
- Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two. Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).
- Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has scored one goal every 47 minutes for the Blues in the UEFA Champions League (3 goals in 141 minutes) – the best minutes per goal ratio of any Chelsea player in the competition.
- Chelsea’s Willian has created 10 goalscoring chances for his teammates in this season’s Champions League but is yet to provide an assist; only Lyon’s Memphis Depay (also 10 has created as many chances without assisting a goal in the competition this term.
- Frank Lampard lost his first home UEFA Champions League match but has since won his two away matches – the only manager in the history of the competition to lose his first two home games while winning his first two away games was Santiago Solari with Real Madrid last season.
- Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in eight of Ajax’s last 14 goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League (five goals, three assists), including six of their last seven away from home (three goals, three assists).
VIDEO: Highlights from every game in matchday three of Champions League group stage games with Opta stats
Watch all the goals from every game in the latest round of Champions League group games with the best Opta stats by clicking the image below...
Lyon v Benfica
Group G is incredibly close, with just three points separating bottom side Benfica with leaders RB Leipzig in a group lacking a Euro supergiant.
The top two spots are really up for grabs and Benfica will be hoping to build on their away win at Lyon in matchday three.
The Portuguese side won 2-1, with thanks to both early and late goals, and they are a great price to win in France.
Lyon's form this season has been incredibly poor, winning just three of their last 13 in all competitions, while Benfica are on a five-game winning run and have scored six goals in their last two league games.
They have lost just three times all season and the 7/2 price on an away victory with over 1.5 total goals looks a great price worth considering.
- Lyon have faced Benfica three times previously in the UEFA Champions League, winning once and losing twice, including a 2-1 defeat on MD3.
- The only previous European meeting between Lyon and Benfica in Lyon came in October 2010 at the Stade de Gerland, with Lyon winning 2-0 in the group stage.
- Lyon have drawn each of their last six home UEFA Champions League matches – the longest such run in the history of the competition.
- Benfica have lost seven of their last eight away UEFA Champions League matches (W1 D0 L7), scoring just five times while conceding 24 goals across those games.
- Lyon’s 1-2 loss at Benfica last time out was their first defeat in 12 Champions League group stage games (W3 D8); they last lost back-to-back group stage fixtures back in October 2016 under Bruno Génésio.
- Benfica have won none of their four away UEFA Champions League matches in France (W0 D2 L2), failing to score a single goal in any of those matches.
- Lyon’s Memphis Depay is one of four players to have scored in all three UEFA Champions League games this season (also Haaland, Kane and Lewandowski). The only Lyon player to score in four consecutive appearances in the competition is Sonny Ânderson in October 2002.
- Lyon manager Rudi Garcia has won just four of his 25 UEFA Champions League matches (W4 D8 L13), with a win percentage of just 16% - the worst of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the competition’s history.
- Benfica scored with both of their two shots on target against Lyon last time out via Rafa and Pizzi; they had only scored with two of their previous 14 shots on target in the Champions League this season before the Lyon match.
- Memphis Depay has been involved in six of Lyon’s last eight goals in the UEFA Champions League, scoring three and assisting three.
- Barcelona v Slavia Prague
- Zenit v RB Leipzig
- Chelsea v Ajax
- Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan
- Liverpool v Genk
- Lyon v Benfica
- Napoli v Salzburg
- Valencia v Liile
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Odds correct as of 1500 GMT on 04/11/19
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