Liverpool take on Real Madrid in this Saturday's Champions League final in Paris; back Jones Knows' 9/2 RequestABet with Sky Bet
Saturday 28 May 2022 21:18, UK
Our tipster Jones Knows takes aim at the Champions League final and has built a 9/2 RequestABet with Sky Bet involving cards, corners and shots to ponder.
From what I've seen with my own eyes this season and what the performance metrics showcase, then Liverpool are going to win the Champions League.
However, how much of the Real Madrid factor do we have to equate in to analysing who lifts the title? Carlo Ancelotti's side have been dominated for large parts in all three of their knockout matches against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City. In those six games they lost the total shots count 67-110, the shots on target count 26-40 and the corner count 15-39.
Of course, many will point to the important statistic of goals which tilted 15-12 in their favour over the six games but a little check at the expected goals numbers - calculating the quality of chances created - shows us that over those games, Real lost the xG battle with Chelsea and Manchester City squandering 10 big chances, defined by Opta, between them.
Joel Matip one or more total shots, under 50 match booking points, Liverpool to take most corners (all 90 minutes) and Liverpool to lift the trophy!
Yet, here Real Madrid are. In another Champions League final knowing they have won their last seven.
Their ability to play in big moments in the match and not to panic when the heat is on in this competition makes them a very dangerous opponent for Liverpool.
But they just might be bumping into a team that rival that winning culture, who also possess a liking for getting off the canvas to land a knockout blow. No team in the Premier League won more points from losing positions than Liverpool this season (20). This team does seem to have an extra gear and a liking for extreme comebacks, too.
Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG aren't accustomed or thrive playing with the backdrop of chaos - that's where Real Madrid took those matches at key points and flourished. However, Ancelotti's team are bumping into the kings of chaos here. Liverpool want the game to become stretched and frantic, it's where their aggressive press takes control of matches.
Jurgen Klopp has also built a squad of gamechangers all of whom are fully invested in the greater good - to keep players of such ilk and ego so happy is one of Klopp's biggest achievements.
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Liverpool giving Real Madrid a taste of their own medicine by staging a comeback to win the tie from behind in a goal frenzy game - that can be backed at 9/1 with Sky Bet and would have landed in the famous Istanbul meeting between Ancelotti's Milan and the Reds in 2005.
The 8/15 with Sky Bet for Liverpool to lift the trophy aligns with the way I see the final going and is the first selection in my RequestABet. Remember, that is for Liverpool to win the cup, not win in 90 minutes so we have extra-time and penalties on our side. It's Liverpool all the way for me in what should be an occasions ripe for drama.
The market expectation for this game in terms of how many booking points shown (10 for a yellow, 25 for a red) is being set around 42.5 by Sky Bet.
The algorithm used to get to that figure will have collated many aspects, including the strictness of referee Clément Turpin, the rivalry between the two clubs, average cards for and against this season for both teams and the occasion of a Champions League final. That's why I am surprised the line is so high for cards as to my figures and feel for the game, a low card count is where the big value lies in the markets.
For starters, Turpin is a very experienced referee that likes to talk to players and give them chances to stay out of his pocket. He has refereed some big, explosive, occasions this season including Real Madrid vs Chelsea, West Ham vs Sevilla and Rangers vs Borussia Dortmund and produced just an average of 2.3 cards per 90. Having watched all of those games, he refereed them with a sensible if slightly lenient nature - but was in total control at all times.
Generally, there seems to be a directive from UEFA and from the FA to clamp down on unnecessary cards being shown to players, especially in high profile matches. It's allowing games to flow more.
The recent Europa League final between Rangers and Frankfurt produced just two cards in 90 minutes and if you collate the total number of cards in major finals since last summer (Europa, Conference, FA Cup and Carabao) the average number of cards shown comes in at 2.25 per 90.
Two of those finals included Liverpool, who are a clean team under Klopp as shown by just one card being shown in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup final.
An extraordinarily low card count follows this team around in big games too. In both their two recent Champions League finals against Real Madrid in 2018 and Tottenham in 2019, just one card was shown across both matches.
With plenty of respect on show between Ancelotti, Klopp and many of their key players, the chances of the game boiling over look slim. All this adds up to the prices of low cards in the game being very appealing.
The standout bet is the 8/13 with Sky Bet for there to be under 50 booking points but those that like playing bigger prices also have options. Under 30 booking points at 11/4 is worth a shot as is the no card shown at a gigantic 33/1 with Sky Bet. That's a bet that would have landed in three of Liverpool's Champions League fixtures this season, against Porto, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Liverpool have won the corner race in 45 of their 51 games across the Premier League and Champions League this season (88 per cent strike-rate). In their four fixtures with Manchester City and Chelsea in the knockout stages, Real Madrid had to soak up a hefty amount of pressure in games and in total lost the corner count 30-9 on aggregate. I'm expecting much of the same in terms of the match scenario, so Liverpool to win most corners at 4/11 makes sense to add to our best bet.
It wouldn't be a Jones Knows-inspired bet without investing in a centre-back to get involved in the fun in some way so it's time to invest in an old friend. Joel Matip's goalscoring instincts are finally being celebrated this season as Liverpool's threat from set pieces remains very high. He has the whiff of a goal in the way he attacks set pieces from all angles and Real Madrid remain a team that seriously struggle when tasked defending balls into their box - as shown by Chelsea when Antonio Rudiger scored in the quarter-final.
Matip has fired 12 shots in his last 11 starts in the Premier League and five in his last seven in the Champions League.
The 8/11 for him to have a shot in the final is a tasty one. And I wouldn't put anyone off the 14/1 with Sky Bet on him scoring in 90 minutes.