Liverpool’s dreadful Premier League form continued in a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle this weekend, and Pepe Reina’s mindless dismissal in that game has now threatened to de-rail their bid for FA Cup glory at 13/5.
Reina will serve a three match suspension in the aftermath of his head-butt on Newcastle defender James Perch, and the Wembley FA Cup semi-final with Merseyside rivals Everton will be included in his ban, leaving Alexander Doni to make a probable Reds debut.
Doni has won ten Brazil caps, but the prospect of making his Reds bow at the national stadium in such an intense atmosphere will still be a daunting proposition for the former Roma goalkeeper, 32.
With that in mind, tournament outsiders Everton could be worth getting behind to claim FA Cup glory at 4/1, with their physical side likely to cause problems for their Merseyside neighbours, particularly at set-plays with the untried Doni in goal.
A mainstay of the side for so many years now, Reina has played every minute of Liverpool matches across all competitions this term, and his presence will be sorely missed as Kenny Dalglish’s men look to complete a domestic cup double.
Indeed, Reina was an inspirational figure during Liverpool’s last visit to Wembley, where he saved a penalty during a shootout with Cardiff to help them on their way to a first piece of silverware in six years.
He also came to the fore the last time the Anfield outfit participated in an FA Cup final, where his penalty heroics ensured victory in a tense shootout win over West Ham back in 2006.
As Everton reached the 2009 Wembley showpiece via shootout success, Reina would be an intimidating figure to oppose in such an environment, and his exclusion from the semi-final looks to have placed a significant dent in Liverpool’s hopes of justifying their 13/5 price for the tournament.