Liverpool Can Prioritise EFL Cup Win Against Spurs

Liverpool host Spurs at Anfield in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

There may be no European football this week but there’s plenty of great betting fixtures, including some huge games in the last sixteen of the EFL Cup. The newly renamed League Cup hasn’t always attracted that much interest in the past from clubs and fans alike, but it’s difficult not to get a little bit excited about some of the matches in store over Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Manchester United and Manchester City will renew rivalries on Wednesday in what is arguably the tie of the round, but on the same night there’s a feisty London derby between West Ham and Chelsea, and an all-Premier League clash between Southampton and Sunderland. You’ll find our preview for each of those games in our football tips section above, but to begin with we’ll concentrate on Tuesday night’s five games.

Without doubt the pick of the bunch is the match at Anfield between Liverpool and Spurs, the Premier League’s 3rd and 5th placed sides. Arsenal have a home tie against Reading – rekindling thoughts of one of football’s greatest comebacks; while other games include Leeds v Norwich, Newcastle v Preston, and Bristol City v Hull.

It makes a good deal of sense to back an in-form Liverpool side with no European commitments, against a Spurs team which is struggling for goals and has some big games on the horizon. Arsenal’s thrilling comeback at Reading in 2012 will live long in the memory, but Arsene Wenger would surely settle for a much smoother passage into the last eight at the Emirates. Meanwhile Norwich, who beat Everton at Goodison in the last round, look a decent price when they travel up to Leeds this time around.

Liverpool v Tottenham

First up, we’re siding with the Reds at -133  with Betfred and Paddy Power when they host Spurs.

Spurs’ brilliant season last year saw them qualify for the Champions League, and so far they’ve done a pretty good job of managing European and domestic form. They’re 5th in the league with 19 points, and 2nd in their Champions League group after three matches. What’s more, they’re unbeaten all season. That record might well come to an end on Tuesday night though, in a game which is surely more important to the home side. Mario Pochettino has a congested fixture list coming up, and it would be no huge surprise if he ‘managed’ his squad here.

In the next month Spurs have home fixtures against Leicester and Bayer Leverkusen, before back-to-back London derbies against Arsenal and West Ham. They travel to Monaco three days after playing the Hammers, before returning to yet another London derby against Chelsea.

In contrast, Liverpool have just four Premier League games in the same period – taking on Crystal Palace, Watford, Southampton and Sunderland. The expectation is that Jurgen Klopp will feel much more comfortable fielding a strong side here than his opposite number, and even if both managers field strong teams, the Reds are more than capable.

In the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, Liverpool took the lead through a James Milner penalty and had a goal dubiously ruled out for offside. Spurs hit back with a Danny Rose equaliser, but were not the better side on the day. Since then Liverpool have won five of six matches, with the only draw when they were held 0-0 by Manchester United.

Spurs may be unbeaten, but they’ve failed to win any of their last three games and have scored just one goal in the process. Harry Kane is a big miss up front, and nobody has quite taken up the goal-scoring mantle, despite the best efforts of Son Heung-Min. Liverpool will have a real go at Spurs under the lights at Anfield, and at the moment they have the more effective attacking players.

Arsenal v Reading

Arsenal are unsurprisingly odds-on to win against Reading, so a better play might be the half-time/full-time result at -118  with Coral.

These two clubs created an historic night four years ago in this competition, when they combined for a 12-goal thriller. Reading led 4-0 late in the first half and looked out of sight, before Theo Walcott gave the Gunners a glimmer of hope just before the break. A rousing comeback saw Arsenal draw level at 4-4 to take the game into extra-time, and four more goals in the extra 30 provided a final scoreline of 5-7.

A repeat of that is clearly unlikely, and Wenger will expect his in-form side to exert their authority much quicker on Tuesday night. The Frenchman is renowned for resting players in this competition, but the starting eleven in the last round included the likes of Perez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka and Elneny. Players of that calibre are still above the level of Championship sides, and they duly contributed to a 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

A run of seven straight wins was halted as Middlesbrough took a point from the Emirates on Saturday, but normal service should be resumed with a comfortable win for the Gunners.

Leeds v Norwich

Finally, Norwich look worth a speculative punt at +163  with Betway when they visit Leeds.

The Canaries slipped to 4th in the Championship table after the 1-0 weekend defeat to Preston, but they’re just four points behind new leaders Newcastle, and the promotion challenge is still well on track. Leeds are back in 10th position, but it’s been a much better season this year under former Swansea boss Garry Monk.

However, there is a gulf in quality between these two squads, and with a quarter-final place at stake, both should be taking it seriously. Norwich fielded a fairly strong side in the 2-0 away win at Everton in the previous round, and it would be a shock if Alex Neal didn’t do the same here. His team beat Leeds on their last visit to Elland Road, the game finishing 2-0 in April 2015 with Norwich on their way to promotion.

Leeds may have won four of their last five home games, but they’ve only beaten Blackburn twice, Barnsley, and Ipswich. With respect to those clubs, none have the quality that Norwich possess and this will be a tough test for the Whites. At the odds, Norwich are worth a bet.

Tips Summary

Liverpool to beat Tottenham
Tuesday 25th October, 19:45 GMT
Odds:  -133

Arsenal HT/FT double result
Tuesday 25th October, 19:45 GMT
Odds:  -118

Norwich to beat Leeds
Tuesday 25th October, 19:45 GMT
Odds:  +163

Arsenal
EFL Cup
liverpool
Norwich
spurs

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