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UEFA Champions League Final.

by Ben, last updated 2005-06-12 23:07:22

 AC Milan v Liverpool - Wed May 25, 2005

 AC Milan (2.1), Draw (3.2), Liverpool (4)

Wednesday sees the final of what is arguably the best football contest in the world (international competitions included). I would have preferred Chelsea to be facing Milan in Istanbul but Liverpool were the better team on the night they knocked Chelsea out.

Earlier this month, it was reported that, Arsene Wenger branded Liverpool lucky to be in the Champions League at all. His remarks were probably taken out of context. I read it as saying England was lucky to have 4 places in the Champions League, not trying to put down Liverpool in anyway. As for his remarks comparing Liverpool's achievement to Millwall reaching the FA Cup final last year, I think he was just saying that the Champions League is not a league but a cup, where anyone on their day can get through.

If anyone is lucky to be in the final it's AC Milan. I watched both legs and 2-0 at the San Siro was a very flattering score line. 1-0 or 1-1 would have reflected what happened better. Back in Holland PSV won the tie 3-1 but went out on away goals. Milan's away goal was scored in the 90th minute. Very painful for PSV, who really did deserve extra time at least.

Liverpool have been playing excellent football in Europe this year. Back in December they looked certain to go out to Olympiacos. 1-0 down at half time, they needed 3 goals to get though to the knockout stages. Against all the odds they made it. They then went on to knock out Leverkusen, winning both legs 3-1, Juventus, winning 2-1 and drawing 0-0 and Chelsea, drawing 0-0 and then winning 1-0. Man U and Arsenal eat your heart out.

Milan are going to end up second in Serie A this season. They drew 3-3 with Palermo on Friday which left them 4 points behind Juventus with just a match to go. They effectively lost the title race earlier this month when they went down 1-0 to Juventus. Milan did rest most of their regular players in anticipation for this Champions League clash so I'll not read too much into this.

Liverpool ended their season with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Djibril Cissť was back in action and scored both Liverpool goals. Their season might have been a lot different if he hadn't broke his leg in October. Cisse was very impressive in the pre-season friendlies in the USA. Having finished 5th just below local rivals Everton, this is Liverpool's only chance of playing Champions League football next year.

My pick for this match is Liverpool +0.5 priced 1.76 at gamebookers. Liverpool have always managed to pull something special out of the bag for the Champions League and there is nothing to stop me thinking they can do it again. I'll not go as far as to say they will win but I don't think they will lose in 90 minutes. If you think AC Milan are going to win then the best price is 2.15 -0.5 on the Asian handicap at bet365.

I was playing with the idea of going for unders on the goal line of 2 (ie. exactly 2 goals returns stakes). The price is 1.8 at bet365. I had a look at the stats for Champions League Finals. In 12 there have been 6 matches with 3 or more goals, 2 matches with exactly 2 goals and 4 matches where there have been 0-1 goals. Based on this I'll skip this bet as a fair price would be evens for under 2.5 goals. Plus I'll be watching this match and it's horrible watching a game and not wanting anyone to score.




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