Liverpool v Middlesbrough: Leadbitter looking good for goal
Liverpool head into their League Cup meeting with Middlesbrough as firm favourites for victory but anyone watching either of these sides at present will know the danger of backing a Reds win.
A shaky win over Ludogorets in the Champions League aside, Brendan Rodgers’ team are in the midst of some rotten top-flight form, having tasted defeat in three of their last four Premier League outings and the 4/9 on a home victory looks best avoided.
With two of the Reds’ previous three League Cup exits coming at Anfield, home advantage may not count for much when the in-form Boro visit Merseyside.
Aitor Karanka’s team are already being talked of as outsiders for promotion following three straight wins in the Championship and, while they are some way off putting together a concerted promotion push, they look a great price at 6/1 to win here with the draw offered at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
Liverpool look likely to rest several key players for this Capital One Cup encounter, so don’t be surprised to see Fabio Borini remain in and around the starting line-up, despite his lacklustre showing against West Ham, with the Italian still very much a fringe player.
That said, Borini does boast something of a pedigree in this competition, having netted three goals in five appearances for Sunderland last term during the Black Cats’ march to the final, in which the Italian even scored. He could be the one to watch for a Liverpool goal here.
As West Ham showed at the weekend, Liverpool remain leaky in defence and with many big names likely to sit this one out, an attack-minded Middlesbrough could come out on top in a goal-heavy encounter at Anfield.
The Reds have scored and conceded in two of their three Premier League losses so far this term and the sight of Ludogorets scoring at Anfield last week will give a Boro team fresh from a 4-0 win over Brentford plenty of encouragement to go forward.
Current captain and talisman from the midfield, Leadbitter’s status as penalty-taker-in-chief at the club, coupled with his ability to strike the ball with venom from range make the price available on his scoring at any time simply too good to ignore.
The former Sunderland and Ipswich Town player is in great goalscoring form for the Teesiders too, with three in Middlesbrough’s last three games.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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