Stoke City reached the FA Cup final last season and there is a reasonable chance that the Potters will be reaching the same stage of the Carling Cup this time around, having knocked Tottenham Hotspur out in the previous round of the competition.
Stoke are unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium this season and they welcome a Liverpool side who will be showing plenty of changes considering that Saturday’s trip to West Brom is of stricter importance to Kenny Dalglish’s team.
City won this fixture in the Premier League earlier this season and can be backed at a massive 5/2 (bet365 – £200 free bets) to claim victory in this match, with Tony Pulis also likely to rotate the squad ahead of Monday’s clash with Newcastle and then a trip to Israel next Thursday.
Liverpool are available at 5/4 (Blue Square – £25 free betting) to win the game and there will be players in the team determined to show they should be in the first team for all matches this season.
That includes Jay Spearing who said: “I’ve got to do everything I can in training to show the boss I am ready if he needs me to play against Stoke.”
Kenny Dalglish would dearly love to win some silverware during his first full season in charge at Anfield and we might expect Andy Carroll to lead the line, while Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy could also be selected based on previous rounds of the competition.
Pulis might give Peter Crouch the night off against his former club, although Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome should be a handful in attack, while Wilson Palacios has a chance to demonstrate his ability in what should be an evenly-contested match.