Aston Villa v Liverpool: Oppose understrength Reds

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ASTON VILLA host Liverpool in the EFL Cup quarter-finals. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets.

Aston Villa v Liverpool | Tuesday 16th December 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Seldom will you see Liverpool at odds as big as 8/1 against anybody, but a staggering fixture backlog has made them rank outsiders for the first time in a long while. Jurgen Klopp has bemoaned the relevant schedulers for pitting his team in two competitions, stretched out over the world, in consecutive days.

Klopp and the first team squad will be in Qatar preparing for a Club World Cup clash with Mexican side Monterrey on Wednesday night. Global PR seems like something Liverpool have got a handle on and their international fanbase is growing at a rapid rate, it makes sense that they value this competition over the much maligned EFL Cup.

It means the Reds will have to field an extremely inexperienced XI at Villa Park for a quarter-final, I do have sympathy with Klopp and co as they’ve put the effort in to get this far in the first place.

Many onlookers won’t be aware of half of the players who are likely to take to the field on Tuesday night. Talented youngsters Curtis Jones and Neco Williams are also in the Middle East so it will be largely U18s in the roster. Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp Van Der Berg have both made impressions in this competition so far and the pair are likely to start at the back. Pedro Chirivella could anchor the midfield along side Isaac-Christie Davies and Herbie Kane, the latter enjoyed a productive spell on loan at Doncaster last season.

Villa, on the other hand, should be taking this very seriously. They have a battle on their hands to stay up in the Premier League but I think if they do achieve survival and get to a cup semi-final at least then it has to go down as a successful campaign for Dean Smith.

It’s true that Villa have spent a lot of money in the summer but naturally it takes time when there has been a mass overhaul across the summer. It was interesting to see that their starting XI against Sheffield United and that just two of the side that started the same fixture last year, in the championship.

Wesley has struggled to find any kind of regular goalscoring form and we could see Jonathon Kodjia come in from the start whereas Keinan Davis is back in the frame after injury. Henri Lansbury, Ahmed Elmohamady, Neil Taylor and Orjan Nyland could also get a rare start here too.

They’re not in particularly good form at the minute but they should win with relative ease against a youth side, however I think they’ll be keen to just get the job done here. There was some even-money available on Villa with a -1 start on the handicap but that price has long gone so we have to find an alternative way to get a backable price. I think the best way in could be to back the hosts to win in a game featuring Under 4.5 Goals which is available at 4/5 with Sky Bet.

There’s no particular need for them to go hell for leather here, goal difference means nothing and Liverpool will not want an embarrassment. I could see Villa taking a two-goal lead and then holding off and seeing the game out. We get a lot of results on our side here and it looks a worthy boost from the skinny 3/10 best price on Smith’s posse.

All four of their home wins have seen fewer than four goals, never mind five, and I expect the away side to try and keep things competitive.

Best Bets

Aston Villa v Liverpool – Aston Villa to win and Under 4.5 Goals (4/5 Sky Bet)

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