Capital One Cup Final: Bet on late goals as Liverpool and Man.City tire in big Wembley clashPublished February 28, 2016
It could certainly be argued that winning the Capital One Cup is more important to Liverpool than Manchester City in terms of ensuring a place in Europe next season, with the Merseysiders by no means certain to finish high enough in the Premier League to qualify for the Europa League.
Yes, Liverpool could yet qualify for the Champions League next season should they win this season’s Europa League, but there are far too many quality teams that would have to be seen off to bank on anything on that front as yet.
Coincidentally, Liverpool and Man City meet again in Premier League at Anfield on Wednesday evening and that game will certainly be of greater importance to the visitors. Manuel Pellegrini would certainly opt for three points at Anfield over victory at Wembley as things stand.
After three straight defeats that dealt a hefty blow to their Premier League title aspirations and saw a seriously under-strength team go out of the FA Cup with a 5-1 defeat at Chelsea, Manchester City returned to winning ways with a fairly comfortable 3-1 win away to Dynamo Kiev in the 1st leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. There was a definite spark about City’s play at times and it was a result that will unquestionably boost confidence, but it does need stating that the Ukrainians were very rusty as a result of their domestic league’s long winter break.
Liverpool’s injury problems have eased of late, with several players returning recently. Martin Skrtel could also be available, but he would be an unlikely starter after more than two months out. City’s injury issues also seem to be clearing. Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala are both now available and Wilfried Bony could also possibly be in contention. Jesus Navas looks less likely to be feature, but has an outside chance of being fit.
Both of these teams look better going forward than they do on the back foot and with both having played a lot of football recently and having been in midweek European action, there could be some tiredness and mistakes creeping in the longer the game goes. That in turn could mean more goals after the break than in the opening half.