THE Capital One Cup semi-finals begin on Tuesday night with Stoke hosting Liverpool. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the match.
Stoke v Liverpool | Tuesday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
I had a pretty decent weekend on the Premier League with a late Manchester United goal the only thing separating me from a treble in my regular column. But in my earlier preview of West Ham v Liverpool I went for Both Teams To Score expecting a Liverpool victory. I got that wrong.
Liverpool, like Man City, should have a Timeform squiggle this season (ask your weird horse racing loving mate) they’ve been so hard to call. A mish-mash of sensational results and poor performances,
Jurgen Klopp’s arrival clearly had an almost instant effect with eight wins in his first 11 matches. A bit like a new relationship if you like, it’s all fresh, it’s all exciting, she smells amazing all the time, you can’t stop kissing her.
But things have turned since that shock loss to Newcastle and it’s just two wins in seven since and including that day. She’s nipping at your head a bit now and she insists you come out for her annoying mate’s 30th rather than watch the football with your pal.
Anyway…enough of those metaphors. You can put Liverpool’s slump down to injury problems and perhaps tiredness as the players try to adjust to Klopp’s gruelling methods. This will take time.
On Tuesday night they go to Stoke in the opening leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals and are again ridden with injury problems. Christian Benteke is their only option up top while Jordan Henderson and James Milner are also likely to miss out.
This has been reflected in their price to be fair. As short as 5/4 on Saturday to win this game, the Reds are now as big as 8/5 to triumph in the Potteries.
I was right to take on Stoke at the weekend but it wasn’t a slight against the club. I just felt their performance level tends to dip after successive victories and that was the case.
There’s lots to like about their chances here as in terms of the League Cup they’re in territory they haven’t visited in a long time. 1971/72 was the last time they made the last four in this competition.
This side have taken out some of the Premier League big guns on this ground already this season. Man City – beaten 2-0. Man Utd – beaten 2-0. Chelsea – beaten 1-0. Indeed they’ve won four of their last six at the Britannia and should have nothing to fear here.
Like Man City you never know what kind of Liverpool turn up, but weighing this game up the value has to lie with the home side even if they’re getting backed in as I type.
At 15/13 with BetVictor you can back the home side off 0 on the Asian Handicap. That’s essentially Draw No Bet, money back if it’s a draw. For me it’s the standout bet.
Stoke v Liverpool – Stoke 0 Asian Handicap (15/13 BetVictor)
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