Mané’s CL golden boot odds set to shorten drastically.
It is a sign of the times, when Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both command the shortest odds by far in the top goalscorer market for this season’s Champions League. Of course, both players specialise in cutting into the box from wide positions, and play for two of the best teams on the planet. Nonetheless, the fact that both are valued above a number of feared strikers, including Robert Lewandowski and Edinson Cavani, will give Champions League teams that value pace on the counter attack much food for thought.
Enter Jürgen Klopp’s brand of ‘heavy metal football’…
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – MARCH 20: Sadio Mane of Salzburg challenges Philipp Degen of Basel during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 match between FC Salzburg and FC Basel 1893 at Stadion Salzburg on March 20, 2014 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Simon Hausberger/Getty Images)
Seen here in his pre-Liverpool days, Mané is well-established as a counter attacking specialist – this could be an important trait in the knockout phase, when the away goals rule becomes a focal point of every game plan.
Mané can thrive on the road!
Since the arrival of Klopp, Liverpool F.C has become firmly established as a club built around a strong counter attack. Deadly in that respect, but still fallible in defence, Liverpool are now priced in the latest Premier League betting odds market at a relatively distant 25/1 to win the title. With only five games of the domestic season gone, this is no doubt a reflection on Liverpool’s mental ‘block’ against so-called ‘lesser’ sides.
Liverpool’s propensity to focus on attack has also proven both blessing and curse on the European stage. An enthralling 2-2 home draw with Sevilla, in Liverpool’s opening Champions League game, was further evidence how just how much more the Liverpool squad needs to refine its overall game plan.
While he may be less seasoned than Ronaldo and Messi, in the ruthless spectacle that is the Champions League, Mané looks as good as anyone on the break. Though the Senegalese sensation is currently priced at around 50/1 to be the top scorer in the 2017/18 Champions League, this is a price set to shorten drastically, given that Liverpool are in a group with a comparatively lower average UEFA coefficient.
All or nothing in the Champions League
The upcoming trips to Maribor and Spartak Moscow represent a golden opportunity for Mané to get off the mark with all due haste. Being at home, the Reds’ next Champions League opponents will feel compelled to attack and risk getting hit on the break. The Reds will also be eager to avenge the club’s defeat at Spartak twenty-five years ago. Thus, the interim period before the Spartak Moscow trip one of great opportunity, for anyone who believes that Mané can defy the odds and emerge top scorer in the Champions League.
Also with prices hovering at around 50/1 are Alvaro Morata of Chelsea and Dries Mertens of Napoli.
To the benefit of Liverpool, the Reds under Klopp remain a relatively unknown quantity in Europe’s premier club competition. With Klopp rightly sticking by his philosophy, regardless of any whatever scant disapproval may exist, there can be no greyness. Quite simply, Liverpool’s first Champions League campaign for three years will be considered an unmitigated disaster or a superlative triumph.