THE EFL Cup 4th Round takes centre-stage on Wednesday night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the televised encounter between Liverpool and Arsenal.
Liverpool v Arsenal | Wednesday 30th October 2019, 19:30 | Sky Sports
The 4th Round draw for the EFL cup brought up some interesting ties. Chelsea hosting Manchester United and this one between Liverpool and Arsenal stood off the page.
It’s great that at least two sides from the third and fourth tier will make the quarter-finals at the very least. It’s arguably the biggest game of the season for the likes of Crawley, Colchester, Burton, Sunderland and Oxford but this stage of this competition is a mere distraction for many of the big teams who have added European commitments to also focus on.
That been said, the sheer riches at the top clubs mean their squads are well stacked and incoming players have a platform on which to perform. On the whole it’s not been a problem for the big boys with 14 of the last 15 finals having seen at least one of the Big Six being involved, the exception being League Two’s Bradford City’s remarkable effort in 2012/13 where they faced off against Swansea.
So for all the moaning of managers about how it affects their schedule that’s not being born out in the results, they continue to monopolise the glory.
Liverpool continue to thrive under Jurgen Klopp, deservedly coming back from behind to beat Spurs at the weekend. It once again showed their calmness but also their strength of character and belief, it’s truly admirable. That took their unbeaten home record to 44 games and you’d be a brave man to back against the hosts when on their own patch.
Recent games against Manchester United and Genk showed the strength in depth they have in midfield, especially now the dynamic Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back fit. Chamberlain has to ball-carrying ability to get the Merseyside club up the pitch through the middle of the park, something I think they have been a lacking a tad.
Naby Keita has had time to settle into life at Anfield and when called upon he’s looked a lot more alert and accustomed to the tempo the side play at. He and scorer at Old Trafford, Adam Lallana, should come in here to give the likes of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum a rest.
It’s what Klopp will choose to with his front three that will be interesting to see. He tends to leave one of them in for these games, but against MK Dons in the last round he went with youngsters Harvey Elliot, Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster whether he will be brave enough to start the trio against a much more technical team we will have to wait and see.
It was quite a sight to see Gunners fans goading one of their own as captain Granit Xhaka made his way off the pitch on Sunday. I can understand their frustrations but I’m surprised more of this anger hasn’t been targeted at the man who’s choosing him in the starting XI, Unai Emery.
I see absolutely no difference between this Arsenal compared to that of Arsene Wenger’s latter spell with the club. They’re still a soft touch away from home, they’re still entertaining going forward and they still can’t defend to save their life.
I’ve been much more impressed by their second string. Gabriel Martinelli has come in and scored in pretty much every game he’s started, I’m a big fan of Dani Ceballos and I cannot believe why Emery hasn’t tried to build his side around the Spaniard.
Lucas Torreira should come in too and they’ll be much more composed with those two and Matteo Guendouzi in the middle of the park. Joe Willock, Emile Smith-Rowe and Ainsley Maitland-Niles may also play a part for the visitors.
The betting angle
With starting line-ups much to the unknown and motives questionable I tend to swerve away from any outright markets in this competition. Instead, it looks a worthy play going into the goals market and back Both Teams To Score and Over 2 Goals at 4/5 when combining them on Bet365’s BetBuilder feature.
This bet has landed in all six Liverpool home games, it’s also copped in seven of Arsenal’s games this season. I think we will see an open game here with relatively little at stake.
I also think there’s some potential value in the goalscorer market. With Mo Salah likely to be rested and James Milner likely to step in to the starting line-up the former Man City and Aston Villa man will be on penalty duty. If he does start and Salah doesn’t then the 6/1 (Betfred) on Milner to score anytime is simply too big.
Liverpool are as short as 7/2 to score a penalty and with a high likelihood that it will be the Yorkshireman stepping up to take it we should really be getting a shorter price than 7/2 given he can score from open play too. It just doesn’t make sense!
Arsenal gave away a penalty the other day and they have clumsy defenders all over the place. Liverpool also tend to get a lot of penalties and they also were awarded a spot kick that was converted in their game vs Spurs at the weekend. Milner bagged twice in the last round against MK Dons and should not be as big as 6/1.