Competition: League Cup Final – Liverpool vs. Manchester City
Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, February 28 – 16:30 GMT (11:30 ET)
Match Odds: Liverpool 2/1 – Draw 12/5 – Manchester City 13/10
Liverpool will be appearing in their first final for four years on Sunday. They lifted the League Cup back in 2012, following a penalty shootout win against Cardiff, but come into this one as underdogs.
The Reds have already beaten City this season, with the 4-1 demolition at the Etihad in November one of Liverpool’s best performances of the campaign. They will likely need to reach those levels again to beat the Citizens here.
Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to win some silverware in his first season at the club, and will hope for better success on his return to Wembley, as he had to watch his Dortmund side get beaten by Bayern Munich in the 2013 Champions League Final on his last visit to the stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini will hope to lift the League Cup for a second time on Sunday. He guided City to the trophy two years ago and knows this could be his last chance at winning silverware before he leaves the club at the end of the season.
City ended their three-game losing streak with an important 3-1 Champions League win at Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday. Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure scored the goals in that victory and City will need their best players to perform to their best once again on Sunday.
The 4-1 loss to Liverpool might be in the minds of some of the players but this is a completely different scenario and City fans will be confident of revenge.
Liverpool’s extensive injury list will affect their chances but their brightest attacking players are all available. Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino will look to hurt a City defence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in four outings.
City have only won two of their last nine matches against Liverpool in all competitions, with the Reds winning four of those games and so this is expected to be a tight contest between two exciting teams.
Roads to the Final
Liverpool’s road to the final:
Third Round: Carlisle (H) 1-1 (3-2 pens)
Fourth Round: Bournemouth (H) 1-0
Fifth Round: Southampton (A) 6-1
Semi-final: Stoke (A) 1-0/Stoke (H) 0-1 (6-5 pens)
Manchester City’s road to the final:
Third Round: Sunderland (A) 4-1
Fourth Round: Crystal Palace (H) 5-1
Fifth Round: Hull City (H) 4-1
Semi-final: Everton (A) 1-2/ Everton (H) 3-1
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp still has plenty of injuries to worry about heading into Sunday’s showdown. Joe Gomez, Danny Ings, Martin Skrtel, Adam Lallana, Brad Smith and Joe Allen are all certain to miss out, while Jordan Rossiter and Dejan Lovren are doubts. Steven Caulker is ineligible as he has already played for Southampton in the competition this term.
Manchester City have no fresh injury concerns to worry about, though they remain without Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph and Kevin De Bruyne. Willy Caballero could get the nod ahead of Joe Hart in goal in what would be an interesting choice. Wilfried Bony and Jesus Navas have returned to training and should make the squad.
Liverpool’s last five in all competitions: D/D/W/D/W
Manchester City’s last five in all competitions: W/L/L/L/W
Key Stat: There have been 32 goals in the last eight games between these two sides in all competitions – an average of four per game.
Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The Manchester City striker will be tasked with trying to fire his side to glory on Sunday. In a game that will be loaded with star players, Aguero is the most likely to turn the game on its head in a flash with his finishing abilities amongst the best in the world.
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester City – This is expected to be another open contest between two attacking sides and so goals are expected. There is probably more pressure on Manchester City to win this game, and they come into the clash as favourites. Despite a poor run of late, the Citizens should have enough to lift their first trophy of the campaign, but expect this to be closely fought.