A quick glance at Liverpool and Tottenham’s starting lineups for the last round of the EFL Cup says everything about how important the tournament is to both clubs.
The Reds travelled to Derby with lynchpin Brazilian pair Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino decorating their teamsheet. They were backed up by England international Nathaniel Clyne, club captain Jordan Henderson and livewire striker Divock Origi.
A day later, Mauricio Pochettino named a side that contained academy graduates Josh Onomah, Tom Carroll, Harry Winks and Cameron Carter-Vickers as the Lilywhites hosted Gillingham.
The priorities of both clubs are easily quantifiable. The north Londoners are attempting to forage a path to Champions League glory, while the Merseysiders are European-football free.
It was quite easy, then, for Jurgen Klopp to throw his star men into the mix, while his Argentine counterpart was juggling a six-game stretch in 17 days at the time.
If this were a Premier League game, those odds would be a lot closer together, which gives every indication that another weakened Spurs side is expected to be named.
The Brazilian netted earlier in this competition against Burton Albion – when Liverpool were again not far off full strength – and has four goals in 10 games so far this season.
So unpredictable is Pochettino’s potential XI that the shortest-priced option to hit the net for the visitors is Harry Kane, who has missed the last seven games through injury. The England man can be backed at 12/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing