TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR - LIVERPOOL
Quick rematch for these two, who met in the league at White Hart Lane just 11 days ago. Liverpool led for 67 minutes that day and dominated most of the game, before conceding two late goals, including a winner as time expired. That was Pool's only defeat in 26 starts, in all matches this season and would have hurt, especially as they wasted an incredible amount of clear cut chances to extend their lead in the first half.
Even though Spurs are holders of the Cup, I think it is fair to say that both clubs will have other targets for this season. Harry Redknapp will have noted that after his team's recent revival, they are only eight points off fifth spot in the Premier league and surely, he will still be targeting that position. In addition to which, they are committed to the UEFA Cup campaign and will doubtless fancy a go at the FA Cup, which Happy Harry won last season with Portsmouth. He will be without key defender Ledley King, who will be sorely missed and may be forced to rest one or two others. To be honest, his players looked a little tired late in the Manchester City game on Sunday, even when their opponents were reduced to nine men ! It may be that recent events and some roller coaster games are taking their toll.
The visitors certainly have other priorities too of course, a Premiership title is number one this year and they are heavily involved in the Champions League, but with no game in the competition for two weeks and progression to the next stage, all but assured, they can put that on the back burner for now. The Reds have had an extra days rest, having played early saturday evening which will help, but as normal, Rafael Benitez will not miss an opportunity to rotate his squad. Gerrard and Keane will sit this one out and they will be forced to field such little known fringe players such as Hyppia, Benayoun, Babel and Pennant, all of whom would start at 80% of other top flight teams on a weekly basis. Oh yes and they will start a young Spanish stiker, who is looking for some match practice, I think his name is Fernando Torres.
So, we could say that the visitors are fielding a weakened, but certainly not a weak team and I get the impression that Benitez, who has yet to lead his team out at Wembley Stadium, would quite like to put that on his c.v this season. At level ball and odds against, I can go only one way and the weather should be more conducive to the silkier skills of Liverpool, the earlier meeting was played in terrible conditions, but today in London it is dry , calm and sunny. A little revenge is on the cards.
7 points Liverpool level ball 2.05 asian line.Good Luck.