After getting his fingers scorched in the final last season, Jurgen Klopp is donning fire-resistant gloves to launch another tilt at the re-branded League Cup, aka the EFL Cup, with Liverpool cruising into round three.
Newly arrived in England’s second tier for the first time in their history, Burton Albion were the unfortunate recipients of a good old-fashioned 5-0 pasting from arguably the strongest XI at Klopp’s disposal.
With the exception of Daniel Sturridge – who still chimed in with two goals as a second-half substitute – and possibly the rested Philippe Coutinho, Reds fans wouldn’t have quibbled the line-up had it been released an hour before the forthcoming Premier League appointment at Tottenham.
In short, the message emanating loud and clear from the Pirelli Stadium is that Liverpool are taking the competition deadly seriously again this season, from the word go.
Such an approach, even at this early juncture of the EFL Cup, marks the Reds out as pretty strong contenders to lift the trophy at 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
That is actually a four-way favouritism shared with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.
Being the first three in the betting to land the Premier League, this is hardly a shock, especially as Man City have collected this prize in two of the past three seasons.
However, the big boon to Liverpool’s chances of prevailing over the Mancs duo is the lightening of their schedule due to the absence of European football and the associated strains that brings to a squad.
Chelsea clearly have the same ‘luxury’, though an early scare against League One Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge under new manager Antonio Conte hasn’t bred quite the same confidence as Liverpool’s display.
It’s also worth remembering, no other club is currently within three of the record eight League Cups adorning the Anfield trophy cabinet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.