Source: Imago Images
Source: Imago Images

How far can the Klopp kids go?

Football OlyBet 08.03.2024

“You can’t win anything with kids” – the infamous words of Alan Hansen will be celebrating their 29th birthday in August. It would certainly be interesting to hear his take on the current situation of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Hansen muttered those legendary words on Match of the Day, reflecting on Manchester United’s 1-3 loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995-96 season. Of course, Sir Alex Ferguson then went on to lead a group of youngsters – including David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, etc – to the Double, being the first English team to achieve that feat.

Ironically, Hansen is a Liverpool legend, and it is now happening at Anfield. Sort of. It was not an informed decision like for United, but Liverpool have been missing somewhere around six or seven players who would be in the starting eleven for quite some time now. Up against the mighty Manchester City (with Arsenal not far behind), it will probably be Klopp’s most impressive achievement if he pulls it off. Eleven games to go.

In September, Liverpool named a 23-man squad to feature in the Europa League. It did include Ben Doak (18), possibly the most talented of the lot, but out with a knee injury since December, and Bobby Clark (19) too. But Jarell Quansah (21), Conor Bradley (20), James McConnell (19), Jayden Danns (18), Lewis Koumas (18), and Trey Nyoni (16) were not on that list. All have chipped in when called upon.

Include the 25-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher standing in for Alisson, having played a total of 22 games in five years for Liverpool before this season, and established youngsters like Harvey Elliott (20) or Curtis Jones (23). In the League Cup final against Chelsea, seven of them played a part. Last weekend, it was five.

And now they will come up against Manchester City in a game that could be deciding. How will it end and which other games to enjoy over the weekend?

All times listed below are in Eastern European Standard Time (GMT+2).

Bologna – Inter Milan

Saturday 19:00

Bologna were last promoted to Serie A in 2015-16 and in the eight seasons since, they have always finished between 9th and 15th. They have exceeded the 50-point mark just once. At the moment, Bologna stands fourth with 51 points, having won their previous six games in a row. If they make it to the Champions League, it would be their first appearance since 1964-65. This could be history in the making.

Even though Inter are now almost certain to lift the Serie A as they are leading by 15 points, Bologna have been a menace lately. After getting trashed 6-1 by Inter in late 2022, Bologna went undefeated in 2023 (2W 1D), including their most recent match in Coppa Italia which Bologna won in extra time. Inter is red-hot too, having won 12 straight games (in all competitions); this might very well come down to who wants it most.

Aston Villa – Tottenham

Sunday 15:00

This could be a huge match for Champions League qualification, with Villa currently fourth (55 points) and Tottenham fifth (50 with a game in hand). Villa now have the disrupting factor of the Conference League to deal with, and might not be able to prepare properly after playing Ajax away on Thursday (0-0).

Tottenham meanwhile has been scoring for fun – they have scored in all 26 Premier League games under Ange Postecoglou so far –, but their defence has not been up to the task away from home. Of their last six Premier League away games, they have won just one despite scoring two or more goals five times.

Liverpool – Manchester City

Sunday 17:45

How many youngsters will be called upon? On Thursday, Klopp used five to brush Sparta Prague aside (5-1). Maybe it is not a bad thing though, as substitutes – a lot of them youngsters – have scored or assisted 22 goals in the league for Liverpool this season. And, well, Mohamed Salah is still fit and has been involved in 17 goals vs City (in 19 appearances). They also scored for fun vs Sparta (5 goals on 2.39 xG).

City are through to the Champions League quarter-finals with minimal fuss and are still the Premier League favourites according to Opta (51.4 percent to finish first vs 35.6 for Liverpool). But they will be playing away from home – just two of the last 30 league matches between Liverpool and City have been won by the away side (16W 12D for the home team). City, though, have won their last nine away games.

The Betis Babble

Source: Imago Images

OlyBet is the proud betting partner of Real Betis.

Next game: Sunday 22:00 vs Villarreal

Nothing could really go right in the first half away at Atletico Madrid. Atletico applied early pressure which the defence could not handle, and an own goal in the eighth minute set the tone. Alvaro Morata missed a penalty but scored from open play just before half-time to make it 2-0.

The second half was much better, but a consolation goal from substitute William Carvalho was not enough. Jan Oblak played a crucial part in keeping Betis at bay, but overall, Atletico were deserving winners. This leaves Betis 13 points off a Champions League place.

This week, Villarreal come to town. Betis are undefeated in their last three head-to-head games (2W 1D), but Villarreal are in fine form at the moment: they have not lost in their last seven La Liga games (3W 4D) while striker Alexander Sorloth has already been involved in eight goals in 2024 (six goals, two assists).


This piece of content has been lovingly crafted by the hard-working sports people of OlyBet. Hope you like it!