Chelsea to continue rampant run by downing Liverpool at Anfield
Chelsea, 5/4 favourites with Coral to win the first leg of this Capital One Cup semi-final clash, travel to take on Liverpool at Anfield, where they have already triumphed this term.
The Blues’ battles with the Merseyside men always take on an extra dimension and layer of hostility when Jose Mourinho is involved.
Under the guidance of the recently crowned Portuguese Coach of the Century, Chelsea do have an excellent recent record against their rivals, winning all three of their last three clashes, so Mourinho should be looking forward to facing protege Brendan Rodgers again.
After thumping Swansea City 5-0 last time out, the west Londoners are in fantastic form, making them a tasty 9/2 to score three or more against a Reds rearguard that has shipped 27 Premier League goals in just 22 games.
Spain sharpshooter and league leading marskman Diego Costa netted the winner at Anfield earlier this term, so is a fantastic 5/1 to fire home last again, or 7/1 to bag a brace or better after sinking two past the Swans.
Partner in crime Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, has recently become the first player to reach 15 assists in two separate Premier League campaigns.
The sensational Spaniard should continue supplying the likes of Oscar (who is 9/4 to net anytime after striking two in his last three games), Eden Hazard (2/1 in the same market after breaching Liverpool’s backline in two of his last three outings against them), and super sub Andre Schurrle (10/3).
Rodgers’ Reds may be far off the pace in the league, but have enjoyed a revival of late, winning five of their last six outings, which makes them outsiders at 12/5 to be victors or 9/4 to snatch a draw.
If Liverpool are to trouble Chelsea, however, they will need to channel the famed Anfield atmosphere, as they have failed to beat the Blues in their past five attempts.
Rodgers will also need to be both savvy and ruthless against his former mentor, putting aside his attacking philosophy to ensure the Reds’ defence is reliable, rather than letting Mourinho’s selection of formidable forwards exploit his side on the counter.
Misfiring Mario Balotelli may not get the chance to challenge his old boss, after being too unwell to face Aston Villa last time out. Fortunately for Liverpool, ex-Chelsea striker Fabio Borini and boyhood Reds fan Rickie Lambert were on target against the Villans, and are both 2/1 in the anytime market.
Leading Liverpool scorers Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling are also 8/1 and 13/2 to strike first and last respectively.
Chelsea will be well aware of the England internationals’ combined threat but have conceded just 19 times in the league this term.
After romping five points clear of closest rivals Manchester City, the brilliant Blues are unlikely to let Rodgers’ Reds derail them from the chance of an unprecedented quadruple, which they are 66/1 to achieve.