It’s certainly not been an easy path to the Carling Cup final for Liverpool, who have carded away wins at Stoke, Chelsea and Manchester City en route to Wembley and ironically the Reds’ face what is potentially a more straightforward assignment in the final itself, as they tackle Championship Cardiff.
Bookies agree and so Kenny Dalglish’s charges are Coral’s 4/9 favourites to come out on top in normal time while the Welsh outfit are an 8/1 shot with bet365 and Skybet chalk 7/2 against the tussle requiring extra-time.
Malky Mackay’s troops are going well in the second tier and will definitely hope to be playing Premier League football next season but they have only beaten one top-flight side in this year’s Carling Cup and that was struggling Blackburn, so Liverpool undoubtedly represents a step up in terms of quality of opposition.
It’s hard to see the Bluebirds bridging that gap and although there was an upset in this competition last year as Birmingham edged out Arsenal, shrewd punters will be sticking with the favourites here.
It’s the Reds’ defence that has provided the foundation for many of their good results this term and they have the nous to nullify the Cardiff attack at Wembley. A win ‘to nil’ at 13/10 courtesy of Blue Square, is slightly more of a potential money spinner than a match bet then and bolder punters might also want to tackle Boylesports’ 11/2 for Dalglish’s men to notch twice without reply.
Nevertheless, the Bluebirds can keep things tight in the early stages, lending appeal to both Ladbrokes’ 7/2 for Liverpool to edge it after a drawn first half and Paddy Power’s even money for the game’s opening goal to arrive after the 26th minute.
William Hill meanwhile, make it 15/8 to be goalless at the interval and controversial Reds striker Luis Suarez, can add some shine to what has been a difficult campaign, by firing his side to victory. BetVictor have installed the Uruguayan as their first goal scorer favourite at odds of 5/1 and bet365 chalk Suarez up at 20/21 to find the net at any stage.