Liverpool and Aston Villa enter Carling Cup fray in round two

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The giant killing acts can begin as 13 Premier League teams enter the Carling Cup at the second round stage and the draw has thrown up numerous banana skins for teams from the top flight.

Liverpool are arguably the biggest team to enter the second round and after their embarrassing penalty shoot-out defeat to Northampton in round three last year, they will be keen to avoid a similar mishap at Exeter.

Kenny Dalglish’s team are 8/1 in the Carling Cup odds to win the competition and are the shortest-priced side in this market to currently be involved in the competition.

Northampton have the chance to cause another upset as they host Wolves, while Newcastle may be slightly nervous travelling to Scunthorpe, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Stevenage last season.

Another Premier League team who may have something to fear are Sunderland, who face a potentially difficult and extremely long midweek trip to last season’s League One winners Brighton.

Meanwhile, with Swansea’s chief focus being on Premier League survival, they could also be susceptible to an upset at Shrewsbury, who we have tipped to win League Two this season.

Of the other biggest names, Aston Villa are 25/1 in the Carling Cup betting as manager Alex McLeish looks to win the competition for the second year in succession after guiding Birmingham to the trophy last season.

The draw was relatively kind to Villa as they host League Two Hereford in round two and they are one of three Premier League teams who should qualify comfortably from simple home draws.

Queens Park Rangers will fancy their chances of progressing past Rochdale, while Bolton should have few problems beating Macclesfield.

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Craig Kemp
Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.