Liverpool v Tottenham: Freer schedule gives hosts the advantage

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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.

The pair now meet in the third round of the EFL Cup at Anfield, with the hosts favoured to win at 7/10 and Spurs at 4/1.

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.

Firmino is a 4/1 chance to score the opening goal of the game and 11/8 to net at anytime, both of which look good investments considering he’s quite likely to get a start.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.