Who: Liverpool vs Arsenal
When: Wednesday, October 30th @ 12:30pm ET (all matches broadcast on ESPN+ in the US)
Line: Liverpool +104 | Draw +255 | Arsenal +240
Editor’s Note: Updated with some Liverpool roster news.
With apologies to Chelsea vs Manchester United, the real marquee match-up of this week’s EFL Cup (also known as the Carabao Cup or as we call it in the HPS offices, the Caribou Coffee Cup) is Liverpool vs Arsenal.
Getting two matches pitting Big 6 teams against each other in the Round of 16 is a blow for the EFL Cup. The competition is already getting lost in the shuffle to other trophies, and two of the top English clubs will be eliminated this week. Also painful is that Manchester City somehow managed to get an easier draw yet again, as they host a Southampton squad that just got hammered 9-0 by Leicester. However, Manchester City really, really try to win this competition, so they’ll 100% be around until the end.
So much of this match-up is dependent upon who each squad puts on the team sheet. Based on reports in the past 48 hours, Liverpool will be going super young. Let’s try to figure it out. Here’s a preview.
Liverpool vs Arsenal EFL Cup Match Preview
If this match was at Emirates Stadium, I’d just do a quick blurb that Arsenal would probably win and be done with it. The reality is the EFL Cup means more to Arsenal this season than it does to Liverpool. It’s the truth. Liverpool are laser focused on the Premier League and Champions League. Bowing out of the EFL competition wouldn’t make Jurgen Klopp lose any sleep. However, winning an EFL Cup gives Unai Emery some job security and momentum.
Liverpool have won 14 straight at home going back to February 27 of this year. The last time Liverpool did not win at home was to Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 (that one ended in a draw). Would Klopp truly punt a match in any competition at Anfield?
With that out of the way, expect Arsenal to field something closer to their regular squad on Wednesday. Alexandre Lacazette is almost assuredly going to start. Same probably for Dani Ceballos and promising youngster Kieran Tierney. It won’t be Arsenal’s best XI, but it’ll be strong.
I’d expect Klopp to roll out a similar starting XI in this as he did at MK Dons. This is a great opportunity for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to build on their performances vs Genk last week. Divock Origi will find his name on the team sheet. Curtis Jones was strong at MK Dons and earned more first team time. Harvey Elliott is back from suspension and will at a minimum be on the roster. Adam Lallana will find himself filling in for Fabinho at the #6. Adrian should get the start between the sticks, but it appears as if 20 year-old Caoimhin Kelleher will get the nod.
The backline will be interesting. Klopp is reportedly content rolling out the teenagers in this one. While Ki-Jana Hoever will not, as he’s with the Netherlands U17s, Neco Williams likely will. So will Sepp van den Berg. Don’t be surprised to see James Milner on the backline to provide some steady veteran presence though.
Originally, we thought it wouldn’t be surprising if one of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, or Roberto Firmino started. While they may be on the bench and available for a call up in the second half if the game is close, it’s not trending that way. Back in September 2018 in the League Cup, the Reds hosted Chelsea at Anfield. Sadio Mane got the start and both Firmino and Salah came on in the second half to try and secure a win (Chelsea ultimately prevailed 2-1). At first, it seemed like that’s the kind of template Klopp would follow here. Not so much any more.
Well, oddsmakers had Liverpool listed as -122 to win. With the reports of a very young squad for the match, the line has now moved to Liverpool +104. Arsenal has improved from +280 to +240.
We may update this again to see what Arsenal rolls out. However, all signs point to Liverpool punting this competition. Arsenal likely wins.
Where to bet Carabao Cup in the US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.