Chelsea heads to Merseyside to dance with Liverpool in Leg 1 of their Capital One League Cup series on Tuesday in a match where the EPL league leaders are a good-looking mid-week straight bet.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea, Tuesday 19:45 (beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports en Español, beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA); Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra (UK) 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): The first-place team in the English Premier League, Chelsea heads to Merseyside and Anfield on Tuesday to face Liverpool in the first leg of their Capital One League Cup semifinals series. The second leg at Stamford Bridge follows in a week (January 30).
Soccer betting odds line have made Chelsea -105 favorites over host Liverpool (+250) with the Draw priced at +240 (bet365) in the Three-Way (Winner) market. The Total Goals is in this game is set at 2½ Under -125 (BetVictor) while the Both Teams To Score odds here have the Yes priced at -125 (bet365, No -110).
An often ignored prop bet few ever look at and one best used in perceived high-scoring affairs, the To Score A Hat Trick odds are always high and they almost never hit but can be a fun bet if you get the right player(s). Some interesting ones for this game: Diego Costa (28/1), Mario Balotelli (66/1) and Raheem Sterling 80/1 (Boylesports). This is a seldom-bet niche marketplace for good reason and there are probably only four or five players in European soccer one can bet on hoping for a hat trick in the right situation and although Costa is one in that group, Chelsea and he just played on Saturday (at Swansea City) and who know how The Special One will want to use the Premier League’s leading goal scorer (17 goals).
The Weather Channel forecast for Liverpool on Tuesday calls for a High temperature of 39° F/4° C with Snow to Rain, a 60% chance of Precipitation and Winds SSE at 15 mph, so, a wet pitch may be in the picture when these two famous teams meet at Anfield.
Chelsea has been using veteran Petr Cech as goalkeeper with Thibaut Courtois (thumb) on the mend and with the Blues just playing three days prior, the temptation to use the young Belgian will be there but Cech would be the guess to get the start to led Courtois mend some more. Either way, Liverpool will be going up against one of the best goalkeepers in the world. And who knows who José Mourinho uses in his starting XI but veteran legend Didier Drogba (+160, Anytime Goalscorer, bet365) was ill Saturday and he or Loïc Rémy (+145) could give the aforementioned Diego Costa (+160) a rest if he wants at the striker spot in the Blues usual 4-3-2-1 tactical formation. The familiar attacking midfield of Eden Hazard (+187), Oscar (+375) and Willian (+280) could very well be employed against Liverpool as Chelsea looks for a valuable road goal or goals in this Leg 1. Other players worth a look in the Anytime Goalscorer marketplace for Chelsea are Ramires (+375), André Schürrle (+200) and playmaker Cesc Fàbregas (+500). If I leaned to one in this market, it would be to Loïc Rémy whom Liverpool snubbed after fears about the former QPR’s striker’s heart condition. With Liverpool being such a big rival of Chelsea’s, this Leg 1 and the Blues seldom losing these last nine months, the feel is taking Chelsea as a small favorite is wise because of the distinct managerial and goalkeeping advantages. And also, the Blues simply doesn’t like to lose to the Reds. All Crayolas know this.
Chelsea advanced to the semifinals by defeating Bolton, 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in Round 3; Shrewsbury Town, 2-1 at New Meadow in Round 4; and, Derby County, 3-1 at Pride Park, Derby in Round 5. Note that all three Blues games would have won for Both Teams To Score Yes bettors.
Liverpool has desperately tried to fill the void left with superstar Luis Suárez’s departure to Barcelona over the summer, and the injury to the Uruguayans striker’s former partner in crime, Daniel Sturridge, has hampered the Reds to this point in the season. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers seems to be in the proverbial Hot Seat but the club hopes to get Sturridge is back by the end of the month and make a run these final four months. And with talented players like former Southampton duo Adam Lallana (4 goals, +229, Anytime Goalscorer, bet365)—back from a thigh injury—and Ricky Lambert (+220), playmaker Philippe Coutinho (+240), the aforementioned notorious Mario Balotelli (+160), Fabio Borini (+229), captain Steven Gerrard (+280), 20-year-old Serb winger Lazar Markovic (+340) and Emre Can (+600), this club has accumulated a number of scorers meant to fill that vacuum created by Suárez, but Balotelli, Borini and Lambert have been disappointing for Reds fans and need to start scoring to prove they deserve to play at Anfield.
Eighth-place Liverpool dramatically made it to these semifinals by defeating Middlesbrough, 2-2 (aet), 14-13 PKs in Round 3 here in Merseyside; Swansea City, 2-1 again at home at Anfield in Round 4; and, Bournemouth, 3-1 at Dean Court, Boscombe, Bournemouth in Round 5.
Best Betting Approaches and Trends
The trends support Liverpool at home and the Reds are an impressive 12-4-6 (38 GF-25 GA) against Chelsea here at Anfield. But overall, Chelsea is 19-8-16 in 43 meetings (56 GF-50 GA) and when these two met here in Merseyside in English Premier League play earlier this season, Chelsea won 2-1. The thing about the series statistics and the Reds holding that edge at home need to be taken with a grain of salt because the majority of those years Liverpool had much more stable and competitive squads, whereas this season all the new signings are having trouble jelling, the goalkeeping has been iffy although Simon Mignolet is improving and Rodgers continues to appear to be his own worst enemy.
As for our soccer picks, Liverpool will really be up for this game, knowing that qualifying for a UEFA tournament might not be in the cards unless the wake up quickly and get into top form. So, the Reds only potential glory may lie here in the Capital One Cup. Woe is thee. The pace should be good for goals and the Over with some potentially tired legs on both sides and the Both Teams To Score prop is worth mulling. Playing as good as they did over the weekend where the Blues scored 5 goals—2 by Costa and 2 by Oscar—it’s too hard to get in front of this Royal Blue Steam Train and no matter which striker(s) Mourinho decides to go with as his starter or as a substitute, that guy (Costa, Drogba, Rémy) will be intent on scoring against Liverpool for their own personal reasons. This Anfield leg should turn out to be a very entertaining game.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 Chelsea 2
Free Soccer Pick: Chelsea -105 (bet365)