Liverpool v Manchester City, Capital One Cup Final, Sunday 4.30pm
The League Cup might not be every side’s priority at the start of the season, but come the end of February and if you’re lining up at Wembley it means a hell of a lot. Getting a trophy under the belt will be a great boost for Jurgen Klopp in his first season at Anfield, particularly alongside a decent run in the Europa League. For Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City are still fighting on three fronts (just about) and this will be the first step towards a hugely impressive treble as he strolls out of the door in the summer.
But which team does history suggest siding with going into the showdown? Eight of the last 10 Capital Cup winners have gone into the match with the better five game form, and this season the form side are Liverpool.
The Reds are unbeaten in their last five games, and while that run includes unimpressive draws against Augsburg and Sunderland, they have kept three clean sheets on the spin and put six past a woeful Aston Villa side.
Manchester City on the other hand look about as reliable as Steve McClaren’s barber. They followed up a hard-fought 1-0 win against Sunderland with back-to-back defeats against league rivals Leicester and Totteham. A weakened side then got hammered 5-1 by Chelsea before the first team proper managed to pick up a crucial 3-1 win away to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. Sergio Aguero is the main danger man and no doubt Raheem Sterling will have a point to prove against his former side, but Manchester City are can certainly be described as ‘out-of-sorts’.
In the last 10 years, eight of the form sides going into the final have gone on to lift the trophy. The only exceptions were Birmingham in 2011 and Man City themselves in 2014, which will give Manuel Pellegrini a little glimmer of hope. Sunderland had a record of 3-0-2 going into the 2014 final, compared to City’s stats 0f 2-1-2, and despite going 1-0 up through Fabio Borini, Man City staged a second half fight-back to win 3-1.
Flying in the face of the form book, Manchester City are the favourites for the tie, with Liverpool out at . While that price might be big enough for you to back the Reds, the on them to win with over 2.5 goals in the game is even more tempting.
In the last 10 League Cup finals there has been an average of 2.8 goals a game, while four of Jurgen Klopp’s last six league games with Liverpool have featured over 2.5 goals. Eight of Man City’s last 11 games have had over 2.5 goals and that’s enough evidence for us to believe that this one could be a high-scoring thriller, with the form-team, Liverpool, lifting the trophy.