With the enticing prospect of an all Merseyside Capital One Cup final extinguished by Manchester City’s comeback win over Everton, Liverpool fans could be excused for moping. They should, however, be dancing.
Repeating the feat of Ian Rush and co, when the Welshman’s extra-time brace landed Liverpool the 1988/89 FA Cup at the Toffees expense, would have been the chatter filling the Anfield streets once the Reds had booked their Wembley slot late on Tuesday evening.
Despite the extra layer of sweetness Kopites tasted from that famous victory over their local rivals, though, when all is said and done winning really is everything in finals, regardless of who the opponents are.
Given City are the opposition instead, it may sound daft, but Liverpool’s chances of hoisting a ninth League Cup may have significantly improved now the Toffees are out of the equation.
Although Liverpool are now the underdogs at 13/10, the Reds taking the season’s first silverware is more wager-worthy than Jurgen Klopp’s mob would have been as probable favourites to beat Everton.
The pressure that would have accompanied Liverpool as the more fancied team has now shifted off Red shoulders and onto Manuel Pellegrini and his team’s.
City are the most expensively-assembled side in the land and although the Anfield outfit are hardly spendthrifts, it’s the Sheikh Mansour-owned outfit which carry the heavier weight these days.
Luckily for Liverpool, they seem to have the Citizens’ measure in recent meetings; the 4-1 rout at the Etihad was their second win in succession and their third in the past five meetings with their last Capital One Cup sparring partners of 2015/16.
Klopp has already got into Pellegrini’s head with that stunning performance and result at City’s stronghold, which can only be disconcerting for the Chilean and his troops entering the finale.
Meanwhile, Everton have proved to be tough nuts to crack for the red half of Merseyside, where only a 4-0 Anfield win during that title near miss season interrupted a pattern of six draws.
Losing out on silverware to your geographical foes, who are also the perceived underdogs, is a far grimmer prospect than coming second to a star-studded City side.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter?Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.