The wait is finally over – Champions League football is back with a vengeance.
The opening midweek of fixtures has thrown up some classics with holders Liverpool travelling to face Napoli for the second successive season in the group stages, while on Wednesday Man City and Pep Guardiola make the trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Our football betting expert previews both ties.
Napoli v Liverpool – Tuesday
Jurgen Klopp takes his side to Naples for the second successive season as the Reds bid to successfully defend the title they won back in May in Madrid.
They have been in imperious form in the early stages of the Premier League season, with five wins from five, and scoring goals for fun.
Despite conceding in all bar one game, the front three of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have carried on where they left off last season.
To say Napoli have been involved in some drama-drenched games early on this term would be an understatement, beating Fiorentina 4-3 before losing by the same scoreline to Serie A champions Juventus.
With the way both sides have started the season, it’s hard to look past seeing both teams score in both halves at 9/1.
Both games between the two sides last season ended 1-0, but defence definitely won’t be on top at this early stage of the season, so Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 3/1 is also appealing.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Man City – Wednesday
Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side can bounce back from a shock 3-2 defeat to Premier League newcomers Norwich City on Saturday when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk.
As much as City will be disappointed by their league start, Guardiola and the Etihad hierarchy have the big European prize firmly in their eyes, especially having failed to crack the Champions League in recent seasons.
Like Liverpool and Napoli tomorrow night, this pits two sides who met in last season’s group stages again, with City winning both games by an aggregate score of 9-0.
Guardiola will definitely get a reaction from his side, and seeing that he rested the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho at the weekend, I cannot see anything but a City win.
Shakthar have got off to a solid start in their domestic season, and remain undefeated In seven games going into this tie.
However, defeating Guardiola’s charges is a completely different kettle of fish, and while City doesn’t look the best at the back, I feel a City win and both teams to score is worth backing at 13/8.
City are likely to score plenty as well, so a winning margin of 3 goals can also be backed at an attractive 9/2.