MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) analyses the odds ahead of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup contest between Burton and Liverpool at the Pirelli Stadium.
Burton v Liverpool | Tuesday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
After Premier League disappointment on Saturday, Liverpool will look to get back on track by making progress in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night despite a tricky draw at Championship newcomers Burton.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges kicked-off their campaign with an enjoyable 4-3 triumph at Arsenal but the Reds were beaten 2-0 at Burnley on Saturday. Liverpool were as frustrating at Turf Moor as they were thrilling at the Emirates and the visitors will need a vast improvement in Staffordshire.
The most successful team in League Cup history, and finalists last year, the Reds were sloppy in possession, vulnerable to the counter-attack and out-fought over the 90 minutes at Burnley.
Despite enjoying 81% of possession against Burnley and 26 shots – Liverpool only tested Clarets keeper Tom Heaton with efforts from distance and seemed to run out of attacking ideas after half an hour. Klopp was understandably angered and post-match confirmed he’d be ringing the changes for this encounter.
That should mean a first competitive glimpse of Joel Matip in defence with a first start for the hugely-promising Marko Grujic in midfield. Divock Origi, Danny Ings and Lazar Markovic will hope to feature whilst youngsters such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn will also be considered.
The Reds have W8-D4-L0 in their last 12 League Cup games against lower-ranked opposition and with three appearances in the final over the past five years, Liverpool’s pedigree should see the 2015 silver medallists through. But it might not be as one-sided as the odds suggest.
The eight-time winners are rated a 2/5 shot to win in 90 minutes and that just looks a little disrespectful towards the Championship hosts. Instead, I’d much prefer including a goals angle here with Both Teams To Score (19/20 188BET) and a Liverpool win and BTTS (19/10 888) my favoured options.
The 7,000-capacity Pirelli Stadium will be tight, compact and noisy and Burton will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
The Brewers have faced Premier League opposition in two of the previous three League Cup campaigns, beating QPR in 2014-15, but losing out on penalties to Fulham in 2013-14. Obviously Liverpool are a different beast but there’s plenty of positivity surrounding Nigel Clough’s troops.
Burton have bagged four points from four promising performances in the Championship thus far and the hosts have been a guarantee of goals in 2016/17.
Albion scored just 57 goals on their way to a second-placed finish in League One last year – the same as relegated Colchester and 25 fewer than champions Wigan – but already this campaign Burton have notched nine times, though they have conceded just as many.
Clough admitted he’d have to make a few changes with Burton due to host Derby on Friday night with skipper John Mousinho certainly out of contention. Lee Williamson came on to replace Mousinho on Saturday with Tom Naylor filling back in at centre-half. Defender Tom Flanagan could return from injury but John Brayford’s cup-tied so Albion won’t be a full-strength defensively.
The Brewers demonstrated their resolve, energy and determination by twice coming from behind at Blackburn on Saturday with the away side enjoying 14 shots on goal, three on-target and also hitting the crossbar. It means the hosts have already attempted 64 shots and landed 19 on-target since promotion.
Burton saw off Bury in the first round, 3-2 in an extra-time thriller, and a repeat shouldn’t be discounted on Tuesday night. Clough remarked how dangerous his side have looked from set-plays and the home side will be looking forward to tackling a Liverpool defence that’s kept just one Premier League clean sheet in 11 outings.
Indeed, since Klopp took over, only Aston Villa (12) and West Ham (10) have made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than Liverpool (nine) and backing Burton to get on the scoresheet looks like a decent slice of value here.
Ultimately however, the Reds should march on into the third round.