Why entertainment is on the cards in the League Cup final

These two sides have a history of goals, in a competition where net-ripplers are all the rage. Here's how you can capitalise on that this weekend... 

No team loves the League Cup more than Liverpool – but Manchester City will be trying their darndest to make sure the Reds don’t march even further clear in the competition’s all-time stakes.

Both clubs have lifted the trophy in the last four years, City scooping the 2014 edition against Sunderland after Liverpool had downed Cardiff in 2012. The latter was the Anfield side’s eighth victory in the competition – three more than Aston Villa, having won it four times in a row between 1981-84.

Counts for nothing?

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History, then, is on their side – not that the departing Manuel Pellegrini will care too much as he aims to steer Manchester City to an unlikely treble before he’s replaced by Pep Guardiola this summer. As for his opposite number Jurgen Klopp, it’s a first sniff of silverware in the Anfield hot seat. It’s City who head in 13/10 favourites to win in 90 minutes, though, with Liverpool 11/5 underdogs in their record 12th final (but first in any competition against their opponents from up the M62). Will the Europa League win over Augsburg on Thursday night have taken its toll?  

Sergio Aguero

Aguero nods one in against Everton

Neither side has much to shout about this season. Manchester City will be furious they trail league leaders Leicester by six points, while Liverpool’s top-four hopes were never really alive in the first place. In which case, the League Cup might just be their only chance to get the trophy polish out this season, what with European glory seeming like a lofty aim.

Goals, goals, goals

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City have had no trouble putting opponents to the sword in this competition so far, making the 23/20 available for them to score over 1.5 goals tempting. Pellegrini’s side have plundered 17 net-ripplers past Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Hull and Everton – three top-flight sides and another pushing for Championship promotion.

Incredibly, Liverpool have netted only nine – and six of those came in the freak 6-0 demolition of Southampton in round five.

Both teams not to score is 11/10, but if form between these two sides is anything to go by it seems highly unlikely: both teams have scored in their last eight meetings, with Liverpool winning 4-1 at the Etihad.

Klopp has both Daniel Sturridge (9/5 to score anytime, 5/1 first) and Philippe Coutinho back in his frontline after injury, and both played on Thursday (but were substituted on 66 and 80 minutes respectively). For City, Yaya Toure can be backed at 14/5 to repeat his goalscoring feats of 2014, or 15/2 to strike the first blow. Sergio Aguero’s a 19/5 shot to break the deadlock (or 10/1 to score in both halves).

Yaya Toure

Toure thumps in a beauty against Sunderland in 2014

City will be relying on the Argentine to upkeep their status as fast starters – only Leicester and Southampton have led more games at half-time this season than their nine of 26. In contrast, only Sunderland have been at the break fewer times (three) than Liverpool (four). City to be leading at half-time is 9/5.

Great expectations

If it feels like entertainment is on the cards, it’s probably because it will be. Teams often feel they can let their hair down in the League Cup final –  there’s been 21 goals netted in the last six, trumping the FA Cup’s 15 – and these two sides will be keen to show their campaigns aren’t doomed. More of that will do nicely...

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