Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat away to Ipswich in the Championship does not bode well for their Carling Cup final clash with Premier League outfit Liverpool on Sunday.
To make matters worse, the Reds warmed up for the Wembley showpiece with a 6-1 thrashing of Brighton to emphasise the gulf between the two divisions.
Indeed, if proof was needed of the difference between life in the top flight and English football’s second tier, it was provided by Andy Carroll’s goal against the Seagulls.
Liverpool’s habit of conceding in the early rounds of the competition will give Cardiff confidence, with Exeter, Brighton and Stoke all getting on the scoresheet in Carling Cup defeats to the Reds.
The pony-tailed striker doesn’t score often in the Premier League, but when he comes up against lower-league opposition he generally finds the back of the net.
In fact, three of his five goals this season have come in cup games against teams outside of the Premier League.
The two matches are not the only illustration of the gulf in class between the two sides: a similar picture is pained in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, where Liverpool are 7/20 to win in 90 minutes, with the draw at 15/4 and a Cardiff success at 15/2.
Meanwhile, Kenny Dalglish’s side are 4/25 to lift the trophy, leaving Cardiff as 4/1 outsiders.
Of course, Liverpool have proved on numerous occasions this season that they should not be relied on to overcome supposedly inferior opposition, as shown by home draws against Sunderland, Norwich, Swansea, Blackburn and Stoke in the league.
But in the FA and Carling Cups it has been a different story, with lower league opposition dispatched with ease and high-flyers like Manchester United and Manchester City seen off impressively.
And although Cardiff have already beaten Premier League opposition in the shape of Blackburn to get to the final, they are likely to find cup specialists Liverpool an altogether different proposition.
With this in mind, it could be worth betting on Liverpool to carry on where they left off against Brighton and win big on Sunday.
Going down this route is certainly lucrative when compared with betting on a Reds victory, with a win for the Merseysiders with over 3.5 goals priced at 13/5.
A successful £25 free bet on Liverpool to beat Cardiff with at least four combined goals is set to return £90, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
The good thing about this bet is that a goal for Malky Mackay’s team would help the cause – providing, that is, it proves nothing more than a consolation for the Bluebirds.
And Liverpool’s habit of conceding in the early rounds of the competition will give Cardiff confidence, with Exeter, Brighton and Stoke all getting on the scoresheet in Carling Cup defeats to the Reds.
This makes the price of 19/20 on Cardiff to score look good value, particularly as a Liverpool clean sheet is available at 3/4.
Just don’t expect it to be a step towards a win for the Welsh side but a subplot in the Reds’ march to victory.
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