I had a pretty decent day with the predictions yesterday, so let’s see if I can keep it going. Today’s matches feature some teams that desperately need to put points on the board, including Liverpool and Werder Bremen. Let’s take a quick look at the matchups.
Besiktas – Liverpool
On the back of their derby win over Everton, Liverpool will look to get their Champions League campaign rolling. The Reds have had a sputtering start this season, drawing against Porto and suffering a shock loss at home to Marseille. Fernando Torres is ruled out due to a thigh injury suffered on international duty with Spain but I think the team will come out with purpose in this match.
Marseille – Porto
I think Marseille will be boosted by their massive win on Matchday 2 against Liverpool. They will be missing young playmaker Samir Nasri but Matchday 2 hero Mathieu Valbuena should be in the starting lineup. This will be a close game as there is little to choose between the sides. Marseille are sitting on top of the Group A after wins against Besiktas and Liverpool. Porto have a win against Besiktas and a draw against Liverpool. I give the nod to Marseille partially because they are at home but also because of the growing confidence instilled in the team by new manager Eric Gerets.
Rosenborg – Valencia
The draw Rosenborg claimed against Chelsea said more about the state of the Chelsea team at that time rather than the quality of the Rosenborg side. They have been struggling in their domestic league though they did win in their most recent outing against Odd Grenland. However, I would expect Valencia to win, though perhaps not easily. Rosenborg will try to shut up shop so the Spanish side will have to remain patient and make the most of the chances they do generate. Despite David Villa being deemed healthy enough to be part of the squad for this match, I expect Nikola Zigic will partner Fernando Morientes in attack.
Chelsea – Schalke
I think the storm of the Mourinho departure has passed for Chelsea and they have played much better in their last two matches. Add to that, their stellar home record and it looks to be all three points for the London club.
Bremen – Lazio (draw)
Bremen have been hot and cold this season and their Champions League form has been lacking. They’ve lost both their games so far, including a disappointing performance against Olympiacos at home. A loss against Lazio would make it a monumental task to reach the knockout stages. Meanwhile, Lazio only has two points from two games and will be desperate to gain ground on the other teams in the group. They are also struggling in Serie A and keeping the ball out of their own net has been a problem on all fronts. They did manage to keep a clean sheet in the last league outing against Livorno, a 1-0 win that took them to 13th place, but they will be missing holding midfielder Cristián Ledesma for the Bremen match.