Liverpool ascended to favourite status for the Champions League after their five-goal blitz against Roma in the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday meant they had one foot in the final. On Saturday they.
<p>Liverpool ascended to favourite status for the Champions League after their five-goal blitz against Roma in the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday meant they had one foot in the final. On Saturday, they face Stoke City at home. Talk about coming back to earth with a bump.</p><p>William Hill had Liverpool no better than +150 for glory before the second semi-final kicked off between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in Germany. Real, the holders, won 2-1. Would you fancy backing Liverpool at those odds against either of those two powerhouses? It’s a discussion for another time perhaps.</p><p>We shouldn’t take the Reds’ jolly position for Europe’s top prize too seriously – no matter how long it lasted. Liverpool have an army of headstrong, emotional fans. They are what makes Anfield so special. And they also keep the bookies in business, blindly betting their team to win everything and anything. Liverpool are the ultimate emotional punt team.</p><p>Of course, they won’t be well backed to beat Stoke. They are too short for that at -400 with Bet365 and Ladbrokes. Stoke, who absolutely have to win, are +900 (Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes).</p><p>We reckon Stoke could do something here. Largely that is down to Liverpool exertions in midweek against the Italian outfit. There was a clue as to how Liverpool are now focusing on the Premier League in the way they let West Bromwich Albion steal a point in a 2-2 draw. In other words, all their focus is on Europe.</p><p>Jurgen Klopp, surely, will look to rest key players and give fringe performers a run out. It would be madness not to with so much stake. Jeez, can you imagine the stick he would get if Mo Salah pulled a hamstring to end his season?</p><p>So, Stoke will go charging in to their rivals here. Liverpool might not be so keen. Intensity can often bridge the gap between technical superiority.</p><p>If an outright Stoke win is not for you, then you can also have a nibble on them on the Asian handicap. Stoke +1.5 is available at +108 with Bet365. Stoke won’t die wondering. Coach Paul Lambert has said they need wins. And they will have to try for one at Anfield.</p><p>To that end our third wager is one of goals. Go over 3.5 at +125 with William Hill and Ladbrokes.</p>