Stoke v Liverpool – Britannia Stadium at 20:00 live on Sky Sports 1
Liverpool make the trip to the Britannia Stadium tomorrow evening for the first leg semi final of the Capital One Cup against Stoke. Both sides lost in the Premier League at the weekend and will be looking to bounce back and take an advantage into the 2nd leg at Anfield in two weeks time.
Stoke had a fairly successful festive period which included wins over Man Utd and Everton, but started 2016 with an away defeat to West Brom. Last year was a good one for the Potters and with a talented squad put together by Mark Hughes, things are definitely going in the right direction.
Defensively they have been strong, with only 5 clubs conceding fewer in the BPL so far this season. They also have an exciting attack with, Bojan, Shaqiri and Arnautovic but lack goals as only 3 other teams in the league have scored fewer.
Stoke sit familiarly in mid-table but the signs are there that they can further improve and make their way up the league. They have stepped up against the bigger sides so far this year and they are good value to do the same tomorrow evening.
The Potters have looked impressive in the league cup so far with penalty shoot-out wins over Luton and Chelsea as well as wins to nil against Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham. They have won the league cup on one occasion, back in 1972 but are the outsiders to do so for a second time at 11.0. They also come into this match as 3.20 underdogs but are a good bet on the Asian Handicap betting market against a Liverpool side that are struggling on the road of late.
The Reds have lost 3 of their last 4 away matches as the Jurgen Klopp honeymoon period has definitely come to an end. Liverpool also failed to score in each of those losses and without the injured Sturridge and Origi, who starred in their 6-1 win over Southampton in the last round of the league cup, it will be Christian Benteke who starts as a lone striker.
There are also doubts over the fitness of captain Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel and James Milner which will make things a lot tougher for Liverpool.
Klopp’s side go into the match as 2.47 favourites which considering their form and injuries, looks a little on the short side. They have won the league cup a record 8 times and have never lost to their opponents in the competition so it must be on reputation they are as short as they are.
A low scoring tight match is expected, but it’s one that Stoke have a slight edge in and are value +0.25 at 1.85 on the Asian Handicap betting market. I think Liverpool will prevail over the 2 legs but Stoke can make it a lot harder by getting a positive result at the Britainnia.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Stoke +0.25 at 1.85
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