Liverpool can outscore Stoke City in Capital One Cup semi-final
Holly Thackeray | January 4, 2016
- Capital One Cup
- Tuesday, January 5th
- Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
- Britannia Stadium, Stoke
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Wembley spot up for grabs as Reds travel to Stoke
Jurgen Klopp is closing in on his first shot at silverware with Liverpool, as the Merseysiders contest the first leg of a Capital One Cup semi-final against Stoke City, with Coral offering odds of 6/4 for a Reds win on the night.
Klopp and co are also odds-on favourites at 4/11 to qualify for the Wembley showpiece finale, but will not have it all their own way against a Potters team which scalped Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United across December.
Mark Hughes’ side have sprung into life of late, bar a blip last time out against West Bromwich Albion, with the tantalisingly talented trio of Marko Arnautovic (10/1 to bag a brace or better), Bojan Krkic (7/4 to strike anytime) and Xherdan Shaqiri (2/1) thrilling fans.
With a break in the Premier League schedule for FA Cup action against Doncaster Rovers up next, there should be no threat of rotation, and the Potters can also call upon last-gasp goal hero Jonathan Walters (7/1 to have the final say), Mame Biram Diouf or Joselu, who are all capable of causing a kerfuffle.
No case for Stoke defence
The hosts’ array of hitmen may be exciting but, in a turn up for the books, Stoke are currently coming in for criticism of their usually staunch defence.
Five goals leaked in the Potters’ previous two outings is a cause for concern and should embolden the Reds, who will surely aim to to grab goals galore and destabilise their opponents ahead of a reverse at Anfield, which is penciled in for January 26th.
Recent meetings between these two teams have provided plenty for highlight reels, with an exciting 18 strikes from their last five frays. However, Liverpool have taken the spoils from four of those and bested two of the past three at the Britannia Stadium, so look tasty at 9/2 to win and both teams to score. There is also a tempting 10/3 price up for grabs for over 3.5 goals to occur.
Benteke to be Klopp’s cup hero?
The Merseyside men may be missing marksman and regular Stoke tormentor Daniel Sturridge, but they still have plenty of potency at their disposal.
Big Belgium frontman Christian Benteke seems to be finally settling in under the tutelage of his new German tactician, with two from his past three games, and a rather ferocious record of two from his previous four appearances versus the Potters.
So, why not take a wager of 5/1 for Benteke to open the scoring, but also consider a nifty 9/1 for the bruising Belgian striker to be named as Sky Sports Man of the Match?
Every leading man needs a foil, and the Anfield outfit have an abundance, with attacking midfielder Adam Lallana and Brazil playmakers Philippe Coutinho (2/1 to help himself to another strike v Stoke anytime) and Roberto Firmino (also 2/1 in the same market) set to support.
Find more fantastic reads on the upcoming Capital One Cup games.