After losing three of their last four domestic games, including two from two Premier League fixtures against relatively small fish Aston Villa and West Ham, it’s time for Liverpool to pick themselves up with an easy 8/15 win at home to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup.
Except Reds boss Brendan Rodgers doesn’t tend to do things the easy way in this competition, particularly since he became a top-flight boss for the first time at the start of the 2011/12 season.
Here are three things that have happened in all of his Capital One Cup adventures over the last three years.
The opposition score
This trend goes all the way back to the Reds gaffer’s Championship days with Swansea in 2010/11; indeed, a Brendan Rodgers team has not kept a clean sheet in the Capital One Cup since the Northern Irishman’s second game in charge at the Liberty Stadium, where his old club overcame Barnet 3-0.
In three subsequent Capital One Cup fixtures that term, Swansea conceded against Tranmere, Peterborough and Wigan, while their only foray in the competition as a Premier League side under Rodgers the following season ended quickly, courtesy of Shrewsbury’s 3-1 second-round win.
In his first campaign in charge at Anfield, Liverpool beat West Brom 2-1 prior to going down 3-1 in the following round against the team Rodgers left for Merseyside.
Last term, he saw his side pegged back from 2-0 up against Notts County before going through to the third round in extra time, where a Javier Hernandez goal for Manchester United knocked them out.
This is a strong trend, which accounts for much of the reason why Aitor Karanka’s visitors are 11/25 to score at Anfield.
At least one strike is registered in the second half
Remarkably, this trend stays strong all the way back to Rodgers’ first managerial gig at Watford in November 2008, when the Hornets were in the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup.
Since watching Watford go down 2-1 to Spurs, thanks to a 76th-minute Darren Bent goal, Rodgers has presided over Reading, Swansea and Liverpool outfits that have conceded second-half strikes in nine out of ten Capital One Cup fixtures.
It may not be a dream price, but 3/20 on over 0.5 post-break goals at Anfield certainly ranks a banker.
Rodgers’ men crash out early
It’s clear that this competition holds little meaning in the Antrim man’s eyes; since Rodgers took Swansea up he has only overseen a 90-minute win over West Brom (with Liverpool) in five fixtures.
The Reds have been knocked out at this stage in each of the 41-year-old’s two previous terms in charge and went even earlier in his only Premier League campaign in Wales.
Middlesbrough are 53/20 to go through and 5/1 to win in normal time.