Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg
Liverpool have the upper hand going into the second leg after shocking Manchester City with a 1-0 victory at the Etihad a fortnight ago.
Steven Gerrard scored from the penalty spot just as we predicted and City have to win at Anfield over 90 minutes to have any chance of reaching the final.
Roberto Mancini’s side will go into this match full of confidence having beaten Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but the cracks are beginning to show. City blew a 2-0 lead, allowing Spurs to get back into the match at 2-2 and only a penalty five minutes into stoppage time gifted them all three points.
City will be without defender Vincent Kompany, who serves the last game of his four-match ban, so under-fire defender Stefan Savic is likely to continue at the heart of Mancini’s defence.
Any defensive mistakes like the poor back header against Tottenham which lead to a Jermain Defoe goal are likely to be pounced upon, with Craig Bellamy set to use his blistering pace to exploit the unsure Savic.
Liverpool were poor on Saturday night in their 3-1 defeat against Bolton but they were also poor when they were thumped 3-0 by City in the league and then went on to beat them in the first leg of the semi final. The Reds have a big game mentality and will not give the same performance as they did against Owen Coyle’s strugglers.
Liverpool have failed to score just once in 43 League Cup matches – the 2-0 quarter final defeat at Chelsea in 2007 and will relish playing at Anfield for the first time in this season’s competition – a ground where City have not won in nine years.
The Reds have blown hot and cold this season while City are looking shaky in defence. I expect both teams to score but Liverpool are good enough to get a draw at what is a bogey ground for City and sneak into the final.
Verdict: Draw @ 3.3 (Betfred)
After a string of scintillating performances, Craig Bellamy would love to put one past the club that froze him out and sent him on loan to Championship side Cardiff City last season. Bellamy has the pace and trickery to exploit a weak defender live Savic and can be backed at a best priced 8.0 (Coral).
Selected other first goalscorers:
- Sergio Aguero @ 7.0 (Betfred)
- Andy Carroll @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Edin Dzeko @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Mario Balotelli @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Steven Gerrard @ 8.0 (Sportingbet)
- David Silva @ 10.0 (bet365)
- Dirk Kuyt @ 9.0 (Paddy Power)
- Maxi Rodriguez @ 11.0 (Boylesports)
- Samir Nasri @ 12.0 (Sky Bet)
- Charlie Adam @ 13.0 (Betfred)
- Adam Johnson @ 15.0 (Coral)
- Stewart Downing @ 17.0 (bet365)
- No Goalscorer @ 11.0 (Sky Bet)
Defender Joleon Lescott found himself in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball over the line for City’s second goal against Spurs on Sunday. As the tension mounts, he could capitalise again at odds of 14.0 (Paddy Power).
Selected other anytime goalscorers:
- Sergio Aguero @ 3.0 (Coral)
- Andy Carroll @ 3.25 (Ladbrokes)
- Craig Bellamy @ 3.25 (Ladbrokes)
- Edin Dzeko @ 3.25 (Paddy Power)
- Mario Balotelli @ 3.25 (Paddy Power)
- Steven Gerrard @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
- Dirk Kuyt @ 3.75 (Sportingbet)
- David Silva @ 4.0 (bet365)
- Maxi Rodriguez @ 4.5 (Sky Bet)
- Charlie Adam @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
- Samir Nasri @ 5.0 (Sky Bet)
- Adam Johnson @ 5.5 (Coral)
Even though Liverpool’s defence was breached three times on Saturday and City conceded twice against Spurs, I expect fewer goals in this match. Liverpool don’t need to be gung-ho while City will not want to fall further behind. I predict this match to end all square and the bookies agree. A 1-1 final score is a best priced 7.0 (Betfred).
Selected other correct scores:
- Liverpool 1-0 @ 8.5 (Coral)
- Liverpool 2-0 @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
- Liverpool 2-1 @ 11.0 (Betfred)
- Liverpool 3-0 @ 29.0 (Coral)
- Liverpool 3-1 @ 23.0 (Sky Bet)
- Liverpool 3-2 @ 34.0 (Bet Victor)
- Draw 0-0 @ 10.0 (bet365)
- Draw 2-2 @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Draw 3-3 @ 81.0 (Boylesports)
- Manchester City 1-0 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
- Manchester City 2-0 @ 13.0 (Sportingbet)
- Manchester City 2-1 @ 11.0 (Betfred)
- Manchester City 3-1 @ 23.0 (Sky Bet)
- Manchester City 3-2 @ 34.0 (Bet Victor)