Fiorentina - Liverpool

Fiorentina are performing well in domain Serie A. The main objective for this season is a spot for Champions League next year, they occupy 4th place, play well so far and it seems that target is reachable. At their home, Artemio Franchi, have all three wins (Palermo, Cagliari and Sampdoria) without a conceded goal. For domain frames, Viola have more than decent squad. Safe defence that doesn’t make too much errors, tough midfield and some quality strikers in front. But, also face two big problems. First, criterion that referees have in European games is much different than in Italy. Tougher tackles and less number of fouls usually put Italians in subordinate position. Especially when they play against English who are physically much stronger. Viola will have a lots of problems only to bring the ball on the opposite half and their biggest hope is some free kick, or individual efforts of their strikers. And here we come to the second big problem. Top striker and key of the keys, Alberto Gilardino, begins a two-match ban for elbowing Toulalan in Fiorentina's defeat by Lyon (0-1) two weeks ago. So, in front could be Adrian Mutu (in depression because the “Chelsea case”) and Stevan Jovetic, young Montenegrin striker who plays in excellent shape lately. So, free kicks and Jovetic will be the biggest (only, I think) threats to the visitors.

After disaster start in Premier League, Liverpool have been consolidated and started to play like title contender should. They’re in the run of six competitive wins in a row with 13 goals scored in last three Premier League games! Fernando Torres scored a hat-trick in Saturday's 6-1 victory over Hull and successfully sent a message to Florence. Rafael Benitez without a doubt wants to secure a progress in group as soon as possible and get a possibility to play with the fringe players and rest his keys. On the other hand, Liverpool still haven’t played against second strongest team in the group Olympique Lyonnais and possible failure in Italy could complicate the situation. This game has a big weight for the Reds and although they’ll have some hard games in next weeks in Premier (trip to Stamford at Sunday is the first) I don’t think Rafa will rest anybody tonight. Only missings will be midfielders Javier Mascherano (sick) and Yossi Benayoun who picked up a leg injury against Hull. The chance should finally be given to Ryan Babel, while Daniel Agger could return in defence line. 

Considering all facts that can be important for a win here, I give a clear advantage to Liverpool in all of them, except home atmosphere at Artemio Franchi. So, main question is how serious visitors will approach to this game. Win would open the door from the next round, while other outcome would bring a trouble and I think they’ll be very serious. I see 1.80 as a reasonable odd for this level of risk and everything more accept as a gift. Pinnacle offer 2.00. Away win.

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