Liverpool’s squad is more stretched than the definition of what constitutes a ‘celebrity’ on Celebrity Big Brother, and a fixture pile-up is probably the last thing Jurgen Klopp needs right about now. His walking wounded host Stoke on Tuesday in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final, with the Reds holding a 1-0 lead from the Britannia.
While the Reds have somewhat cured their squad, there’s still a few noticeable absences. Mainly Daniel Sturridge, who has been spotted more often in the corporate boxes of Anfield than on the actual turf this season. Another recurrence ruled him out of this match last week, so once again the goalscoring burden will fall on Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Ibe.
Players with just 14 goals between them in 70 appearances. Overall though, they’ve scored nearly 60% of league goals in Anfield, and their defence has been tight enough at home. Of course, if they lose this game, their fans won’t care (it’s only the Capital One Cup…). Just don’t mention corners to Liverpool fans, they’re conceding a goal on average every 34 corners against them, including one at Carrow Road in a sensational 5-4 victory on Saturday.
Mark Hughes has transformed Stoke City, but has he done it enough to bring them their first major trophy in 45 years? They’ve taken the lead in a third of their games so far this season and have actually scored just one less goal than Liverpool. Ibrahim Afellay and Glenn Whelan’s pass accuracy away from the Britannia is better than their home totals and the Potters are still in the hunt for a European place at the end of the season.
If this was a normal competition, Liverpool fans would have a little bit of insurance, because they’d have an away goal. But because the Capital One Cup is the bearded hipster of English football trophies, it’s needlessly different.
Away goals only count if the aggregate scores are still level at the end of extra time in which case, the tie is decided by goals scored away from home counting twice. No, we’re still not sure why either. Even still, the stats don’t look good for Mark Hughes’ side.
- Stoke haven’t beaten Liverpool at Anfield in 57 years
- The Potters have kept nine clean sheets away from home so far this season
- Liverpool are in their 16th League Cup semi final, they are looking for their 12th win
Stoke’s awful record at Anfield is likely to continue. The value is in the goals market. A Liverpool 2-1 victory is, over 2.5 goals looks a play at while Liverpool to win with both teams scoring is.