Both Liverpool and Manchester City will see the Capital One Cup final match as an opportunity to make the current season a bit easier to bear seeing that they did not exactly meet the pre-season predictions. And with both sides heading to Wembley on the back of impressive midweek wins, we could see a cracking encounter on Sunday afternoon.
This has been yet another difficult season for Liverpool, but the arrival of Jurgen Klopp and some promising displays in the second part of the campaign are enough to suggest that success may be on the horizon for the Anfield outfit. The ship called Premier League top 4 has already sailed, meaning that the best the Reds can do is secure another Europa League qualification, which would not be such a bad result after all. When current Europa League campaign is concerned, Liverpool have just secured their place in the last 16 stage having enjoyed a hard-fought 1-0 aggregate win over Augsburg, and there were plenty of positives to be taken from the second leg on Thursday. The Reds not only recorded a win to progress to the next stage, but also kept a third clean sheet on the bounce, while the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho came through the game unscathed, further improving their fitness levels in the process. Taking everything into account, Jurgen Clop’s charges have reason to believe they will be the ones rejoicing at the final whistle.
Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho should keep their places even with the latter on the receiving end of quite a few heavy tackles in midweek.
Kolo Toure is expected to return to the side after Lucas Leiva partnered Mamadou Sakho against Augsburg, but Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel continue to miss out.
Manuel Pellegrini is definitely not your average Premier League manager as his manners and respect for the opponents have earned him a lot of admirers, but the reality is he has failed to take Manchester City where they want to be. The Chilean will have one last chance to prove the doubters wrong before Pep Guardiola takes over the reigns and it would appear as though he has set his sights on the Champions League trophy. That is the main reason why he fielded a severely weakened side in the FA Cup clash with Chelsea, which resulted in an embarrassing defeat, but at least his side recorded a 3-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev to prove the sacrifice had not been in vain. And with City seriously damaging their Premier League title hopes with successive home defeats to direct title rivals, the Capital One Cup final definitely has the priority at the moment. But, even though the Citizens impressed in midweek, they will not have an easy job against revived Liverpool and will have to work hard if they want to add the fourth League Cup title to their trophy cabinet.
Bacar Sagna returned into action in midweek and he is expected to keep his place, meaning that Pellegrini could field an unchanged side to that which won in Kiev.
The injury list remains quite long though with Samir Nasri, Kevin de Bruyne, Wilfried Bony and Jesus Navas still unavailable.
Key Factors to Consider
- Liverpool won three of last four league meetings vs City
- Both teams have scored in each of last nine meetings
- Liverpool kept three successive clean sheets
- Both teams scored in each of Man City’s last four fixtures
- Sergio Aguero scored 9 goals in last 10 outings
Liverpool have shown a great deal of improvement of late, especially at the back, and with the likes of Sturridge and Coutinho raising their form, we trust the Reds will be able to match Manchester City at Wembley. The Citizens are still not playing to their potential in spite of the good performance in midweek, and we expect the match to head to extra time.
Best Odds: 12/5