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Chelsea have lost just once in the Champions League this term, a 1-0 defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb
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Wednesday Preview: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool face key Ajax clash

This week’s Champions League action continues on Wednesday night, as 16 more sides vie for pride, points and a place in the knockout stages.

Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side are playing for all three when they take on Ajax, with a draw or better sealing their place in the next phase. 

The state of play is more critical for Xavi’s Barcelona, who must aim to topple unbeaten Bayern Munich as they cling to slim hopes of progression. 

Liverpool out to seal the deal

WhatAjax v Liverpool
WhereJohan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam
When20:00, Wednesday 26th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsAjax 13/5, Draw 16/5, Liverpool 17/20

With a six-point advantage over their Dutch rivals, Liverpool are in a strong position to qualify for the last 16, having righted their course following an opening defeat to Napoli. But a slip-up in Amsterdam could well plunge the Reds back into a scrap to clinch second, with Alfred Schreuder’s side facing an as yet winless Rangers in their final group game as Liverpool host the group-leading Italians. 

Liverpool’s immediate preparation for their latest European challenge could hardly have been worse; beaten 1-0 by the Premier League’s bottom club Nottingham Forest on Saturday, they sit a full 12 points behind table-topping Arsenal with the winter break approaching. Furthermore, a serious calf injury to Diogo Jota has further disrupted a season already ravaged by injury for the Portuguese forward. 

The Reds were buoyed by 15 goals from the former Porto man last term and his prolonged absence now increases the burden on his attacking comrades. But on that striking front, Darwin Nunez’s expected return to fitness after missing the Forest match with a tight hamstring means the Uruguayan, who has three goals on his last three starts, could again prove the Reds’ saviour. The 23-year-old is at 6/4 to net anytime.

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Can Barca beat the odds?

WhatBarcelona v Bayern Munich
WhereCamp Nou, Barcelona
When20:00, Wednesday 26th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport 5
OddsBarcelona 6/5, Draw 3/1, Bayern Munich 7/4

As for Barcelona, a summer of transfer gambles to mitigate their financial woes makes advancement from Group C their foremost priority, but the result of their encounter with Bayern must better that of Inter against Viktoria Plzen, who have shipped 16 goals over a run of four straight defeats and haven’t won a Champions League group game since 2018. 

A win over Plzen must then follow on the final day, while the Milanese side must fall to defeat in Munch. Working in Barca’s favour is their stable form since the potentially damning 3-1 Clasico loss to Real Madrid three games ago. 

The Azulgrana’s response has been back-to-back home drubbings of Villarreal and Athletic Club, by three and four unanswered goals respectively. Robert Lewandowski scored three times across the pair of games and can be backed to boost his Champions League goal tally against the Bavarians at a boosted price of 9/2

The Poland international has struck four times already in the competition, notably twice in the thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Inter last time out that kept the dream alive right at the death. Bayern, however, are in dominant form themselves and have not tasted defeat since the shock 1-0 loss at Augsburg seven matches back. 

Their 5-2 revenge win over the same opponent last Wednesday in the German Cup signals a return to dominance for the dynastic Bundesliga holders, now back to second in the league after a slow start and, crucially, assured of their berth in the Champions League last 16. 

Spurs set sights on top spot

WhatTottenham v Sporting
WhereTottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
When20:00, Wednesday 26th October 2022
How to watchBT Sport 3
OddsTottenham 9/20, Draw 15/4, Sporting 11/2

For Antonio Conte, pole position in Group D – the tightest of all eight groups at the four-game stage – is a stellar return, particularly for a side who have only scored five goals up to this point. But there can be no let up, as it was Wednesday’s adversaries Sporting who meted out Spurs’ only defeat in the tournament, by virtue of which the Portuguese side will enjoy a better head-to-head record if Spurs fail to match the 2-0 first-meeting scoreline. 

With that in mind, the London side must quickly move on from their first consecutive defeats since February; they fell to an excellent Manchester United at Old Trafford last Wednesday before Newcastle got the better of them in the weekend’s action. 

Having been given only fleeting sights of goal against the Red Devils, talisman Harry Kane was on target again versus the Magpies; he has seven goals in his last ten for club and country and is at 3/1 to open the scoring in front of a home crowd on Wednesday.

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