After a humiliating 3-0 away defeat at the hands of West Brom on opening day, English Premier League club Liverpool will head north to Scotland to see if they can turn things around on Aug. 23. The famous English side will be taking on Scottish club Hearts in a Europa League contest at Tynecastle Stadium in Edinburgh, with the second leg coming next week at Anfield.
Liverpool’s new manager Brendan Rodgers, who came over from Swansea in the offseason, will want to make sure his club gets a win on the board as soon as possible, especially with a tough game against Manchester City coming up on the weekend. They’ll have their hands full up north though with the Scottish Cup holders to deal with.
BetVictor has got some very good odds on this game with 4/7 (1.57) for a Reds win and 5/1 (6.00) for a surprising Hearts victory.
Liverpool captain said it’ll be up to the likes of himself and the other experienced players on the squad to take responsibility on the pitch and make sure they improve from their first game. He said the club has to put the opening game behind them and bounce back strongly against Hearts. It’s a huge game since the winner of this two-legged playoff will advance to the group stages of the Europa League.
Liverpool just sneaked by Belarus club Gomel during the third round of qualifying and will need to improve if they hope to take out Hearts. The Reds have spent millions of pounds this summer on new players such as Fabio Borini, Oussama Assaidi, and Joe Allen and Joe Cole returned after his loan spell in France last year. When you add them to the likes of Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing, and Gerrard, there’s no doubt who the most skilled side is here.
On the other side of the coin, Hearts is a cash-strapped club and have lost some players during the summer. They drew their last Scottish Premier League match on the weekend when they fought to a 2-2 draw against 10-man opposition Inverness, but blew a 2-0 lead in the game too. They played a top English club in the Europa League at the same stage last year too, but were humbled 5-0 by Tottenham Hotspur at home. Hearts boss John McGlynn said his team will have to play a lot better than they did last year to make sure they’re not embarrassed again.
Hearts haven’t lost in the Scottish League yet this season as they have two draws to go along with a win, which sees them sitting in second place in the table. They haven’t advanced to the group stages of the Eurpoa League since the 2004/05 season so it’s likely that McGlynn will be going with his best players. With Liverpool facing Man City on Sunday, Rodgers may rest some of his stars. They hammered Hibs 5-1 last year in the Scottish Cup to qualify for the tournament. Liverpool reached it by beating Cardiff for the League Cup in a penalty shootout.
It should be a close game, but Liverpool will likely do enough to squeak out a win to take back to Anfield.
Sportsbook William Hill has the current odds for the match listed at 8/15 for a Liverpool win, 6/1 for a Hearts victory and 11/4 for a draw.