MX23RW : Wednesday, December 2 18:07:43| >> :120:7404:7404:
Oct 27, 2020 at 8pm UK at Anfield
LiverpoolLiverpool
2-0
MidtjyllandFC Midtjylland
Jota (55'), Salah (90+3' pen.)
Milner (41')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Scholz (19'), Onyeka (25'), Cajuste (32'), Paulinho (90+1')

Preview: Liverpool vs. FC Midtjylland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League Group D clash between Liverpool and FC Midtjylland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

FC Midtjylland's first ever away game in the Champions League proper could hardly come at a more glamorous venue as they visit Anfield to take on six-time winners of the competition Liverpool on Tuesday night.

The two sides endured contrasting fortunes on matchday one, with Liverpool edging to a 1-0 triumph away to Ajax and Midtjylland losing 4-0 at home to Atalanta BC.


Match preview

Liverpool's Diogo Jota pictured with teammates after scoring against Sheffield United in the Premier League on October 24, 2020© Reuters

Remarkably, Liverpool have only ever won their opening two group games of a Champions League campaign once before - in 2008-09 - but they will be firm favourites to achieve that feat on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp's side edged to a 1-0 triumph over Ajax on matchday one courtesy of a calamitous Nicolas Tagliafico own goal, with the clean sheet almost as valuable as the win for a team that was still reeling from the news that Virgil van Dijk will likely miss the remainder of the season.

Considering Ajax then went on to score 13 goals away from home in the Eredivisie at the weekend, keeping them at bay was no mean feat and a back four which has been relatively leaky so far this season will hope to prevent Midtjylland from netting their first ever Champions League goal.

The Reds have not kept a home Champions League clean sheet in any of their last four attempts, though, shipping eight goals in that time - more than they had in their previous 13 before that.

Three of those came in their most recent such game as Atletico Madrid dethroned the then-holders of the competition with a 3-2 triumph at Anfield last season, ending a 25-match home unbeaten streak in Europe which stretched back to October 2014.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool have not suffered back-to-back home European defeats since December 2009, though, and Anfield has become something of a fortress in recent years - particularly domestically.

Saturday's come-from-behind win over Sheffield United made it 62 home matches unbeaten in the Premier League as goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota overturned another contentious VAR call that had gifted the Blades the lead.

The Reds now sit joint-top of both the Premier League table and Group D in the Champions League, although Atalanta BC lead the way on goal difference in the latter following their big win over Midtjylland on matchday one.

The Danish debutants were subjected to something of a baptism of fire by the free-scoring Serie A outfit and will not expect it to be any easier when they meet Liverpool for the very first time.

The omens are not great for the visitors; all four of the previous Danish sides to compete in the Champions League lost their first away game, while 14 of the 16 teams to have played their first Champions League away game against English opposition have also lost - most recently Qarabag's 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea in 2017.

FC Midtjylland manager Brian Priske pictured in October 2020© Reuters

While the trip to Merseyside will be uncharted territory for Midtjylland as a club, manager Brian Priske does have some experience in that field - he faced Liverpool three times during a season with Portsmouth in 2005-06, although he will be hoping for better results having lost all three of those matches.

Midtjylland have also won three of their six previous meetings with English opposition, including a famous victory over Manchester United in the 2015-16 Europa League.

The Danish champions will be travelling to Anfield in buoyant mood too, having launched a stunning comeback at title rivals Brondby to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win in the final half an hour at the weekend, including a 94th-minute winner.

Midtjylland have not fared too well on their travels in previous European competition, though, losing seven of their nine such games and only winning one of those.

Priske's side did, however, come out on top at Ludogorets en route to qualifying for the group stages, also beating Young Boys and Slavia Prague before being placed in a tricky group alongside Liverpool, Atalanta and Ajax.

Liverpool Champions League form: W
Liverpool form (all competitions): WLLDWW

FC Midtjylland Champions League form: L
FC Midtjylland form (all competitions): WWDWLW


Team News

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara after the full-time whistle against Everton on October 17.© Reuters

Liverpool will once again be without Thiago Alcantara as he continues to recover from a knee injury - a legacy of Richarlison's red-card challenge in the Merseyside derby.

Joel Matip was also absent at the weekend and will again be missing for this match, although the form of Fabinho at centre-back has been encouraging since Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for what will likely be the remainder of the season.

Van Dijk's absence was also somewhat eased by the early return of Alisson Becker to fitness, with the Brazilian goalkeeper coming straight back into the side against Sheffield United.

Naby Keita is also still a few days away from returning, while Kostas Tsimikas and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain sidelined.

Mohamed Salah will make his 50th Champions League appearance if selected, and he has been directly involved in nine goals from his nine group games at Anfield. A brace in this match would see him equal Steven Gerrard's club record of 21 Champions League goals.

Jota scored on his first Premier League start for the club at the weekend and may therefore have done enough to keep his place, which could see Klopp once again use a 4-2-3-1 formation.

However, he may also see this match as a good opportunity to rest one or more of his star names, with Sadio Mane perhaps at the front of that queue given Jota's form.

Midtjylland are expected to welcome Denmark international Pione Sisto back into the starting XI after he scored off the bench during the comeback win over Brondby at the weekend.

Sisto has scored three goals since returning to the club from Celta Vigo this summer, but he is yet to get off the mark in the Champions League.

Anders Dreyer was also on the scoresheet at the weekend and has past experience of English football from his time at Brighton & Hove Albion, although he never made a first-team appearance for the Seagulls.

Goalkeeper Jesper Hansen, who is a minor doubt with a groin injury, will hope to improve an unwanted record in the Champions League, having conceded 26 times in his seven appearances in the competition so far - four against Atalanta on matchday one and 22 while with Nordsjaelland in 2012-13.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Jota

FC Midtjylland possible starting lineup:
Hansen; Andersson, Sviatchenko, Scholz, Paulinho; Onyeka, Cajuste; Dreyer, Sisto, Mabil; Kaba


SM words green background

We say: Liverpool 3-0 FC Midtjylland

It is difficult to see past a Liverpool win in this match, and a fairly comfortable one at that. Midtjylland were a distant second best against Atalanta and this only looks like a more difficult challenge.

Klopp may take the opportunity to rest one or two of his star names, but the hosts should still have enough to make it two wins from two in Group D.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

ID:419807:cQx

Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Liverpool and FC Midtjylland?

Liverpool
Draw
Midtjylland
Liverpool
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Midtjylland
0.0%
0
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on October 17, 2020
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Tottenham HotspurSpurs106312191221
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19Burnley9126417-135
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd10019416-121

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