Mark O’Haire’s Capital One Cup Final TipsStats
The first piece of 2015/16 silverware is handed out at Wembley on Sunday afternoon as Liverpool and Manchester City lock horns in the Capital One Cup final before facing off in Premier League action just three days later.
Liverpool v Manchester City, Sunday 28 February 16.30, Sky Sports 1
Neither side has proven particularly trustworthy this term, as the two clubs have suffered poor and inconsistent runs of form. With this their likeliest chance of a trophy, we should expect a competitive and attacking encounter.
Eight-times League Cup winners Liverpool are making their 12th appearance in the competition’s final and the Reds will be looking to enhance an already strong cup record against City (W6-D2-L0).
Jurgen Klopp’s troops have suffered just two defeats in their past nine outings against the Citizens but will still be without the likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings here. Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana are rated doubts.
For the Merseysiders, a 4-1 hammering of Man City at the Etihad back in November remains their season highlight. The side has struggled to reach the same dizzy heights since that outstanding display and more recently a run of just two triumphs in eight across all competitions (against Aston Villa and Augsburg) doesn’t exactly set the pulse racing.
Despite enjoying a large share of shots and shots-on-target in their fixtures, the Reds have struggled in front of goal. Bar their 6-1 demolition of Southampton in the quarter-finals, Liverpool notched fewer than two goals in four of their five Capital One Cup ties this term and against Augsburg on Thursday night, looked oddly toothless.
Still, the talented trio of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should be reunited again here and that should at least give Klopp’s charges a menacing offensive threat, especially against a porous City defence.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men smashed 17 goals en route to the final with both teams finding the back of the net in each of their five League Cup fixtures this term. And an excellent performance in Kiev on Wednesday night should have boosted confidence in the Citizens camp following back-to-back defeats against Premier League title rivals and a thumping FA Cup loss to Chelsea.
City’s fine showing in Ukraine – arguably their best performance since winning in Seville – has seen their match odds shrink and the Sky Blues are clearly the superior side on paper. With victories in four of their last five trips to Wembley when excluding the Community Shield, they are understandable 5/4 favourites.
But even with Vincent Kompany back in the fold, the Citizens’ vulnerable defence makes backing Pellegrini’s men a risky prospect.
A much better betting proposition would be to take the 5/6 on offer for Over 2.5 Goals. It’s a bet that’s landed in four of the past six League Cup finals as well as 10 of Man City’s most recent 11 outings in this competition – eight of which even crept above the 3.5 Goals line.
City’s volatile defensive record has contributed to a huge 29 of their last 36 matches featuring three goals or more (18 beating the three-goal line) and so with the last eight head-to-heads between these two teams producing 32 goals, and with both teams finding the net in each match, I reckon goals will be on the agenda.
Finally, with at least one goal being scored in each half of 10 of the last 11 League Cup finals, counting on a repeat at 3/4 also looks well worthy of our interest.
Over 2.5 Goals @ 5/6
Goal In Each Half ‘Yes’ @ 3/4