There aren’t many out there that believe Liverpool stand much chance of hurdling Chelsea to reach the Capital One Cup final, with bwin.com included in that school of thought in pricing the Reds up as 7/4 outsiders to qualify for a Wembley jaunt.
If Brendan Rodgers’ side are to make good on such a price then their performance at Anfield in the first leg of the semi-final is going to be key.
Getting a lead and hoping a notoriously rickety defence holds out long enough for the attacking trinkets to grab another goal on the break must be central to the Northern Irishman’s strategy, as it has been a successful formula of late.
The Reds, who can be backed at 11/5 to triumph tonight, have not lost a game in any competition in their last eight outings, scoring the first goal in each of those matches.
While that forms the basis of a solid trend, the fact that there have been seven different scorers of those eight strikes means finding who’ll be the man to continue it is a tough task.
Steven Gerrard is the only player in the Liverpool squad to score multiple scoreboard-movers during the run, doing so in consecutive games when opening the scoring against Leicester and AFC Wimbledon at the start of the month.
Backing the departing Liverpool skipper to set the wheels in motion for a third time in short succession pays out at 10/1 with bwin.com, but seeing as the honour of scoring first has changed hands more times than a relay baton, it is worth looking for a new assailant.
One of the few players yet to score the first goal in this unbeaten run is Rickie Lambert, who is available at 8/1 odds with bwin.com to notch an opener on Merseyside.
The former Saint grabbed Liverpool’s last goal, when coming off the bench against Aston Villa last time out, and is likely to get a start with Rodgers keen to shuffle his pack.