The Carling Cup hasn't been particularly kind to Liverpool this season and now the the final insult of an ill-fated campaign seems likely to arrive on Tuesday with a quarter-final defeat against Chelsea.
The Reds were roundly applauded for fielding a strong side when they made the long journey down to Exeter in the second round back in August, bringing some sense of occasion at the earliest stage of a competition too often undermined by the bigger clubs.
However, their reward for that show of intent was to be handed further thankless tasks in rounds three and four with away ties at Brighton and Stoke. Needless to say, Kenny Dalglish probably believed he was due a lucky break in the last eight. Instead, he got the double-whammy of a trip to Stamford Bridge and insufficient time to prepare his troops after Sunday's helter-skelter clash against Manchester City.
In spite of his attempts to get the game re-scheduled and his subsequent complaints to the various authorities unwilling to budge, Dalglish insists there will be no excuses if Liverpool go out of the competition but you have to sympathise because 48 hours is no time to turn around.
Chelsea, you suspect, will be mindful of anything that could be turned to their advantage and for them it might be a case of merely getting the job done as Andre Villas-Boas attempts to land a trophy in his first season at the club.
In the previous two rounds, Chelsea have been taken to extra time by Fulham and Everton after picking up a red card in both matches, so any kind of win inside 90 minutes keeping a full compliment of players would be welcome.
And the best way to play the percentages might be to place a greater emphasis on keeping possession for long periods in a bid to tire the opposition out, forcing the issue later on if the right opening doesn't present itself.
It's a strategy that sounds all the more sensible when you consider the problems the visitors caused in the first half of their 2-1 win on this ground nine days ago, although it seems unlikely that Dalglish will encourage his team to be so bullish again and he might be tempted to adopt a more cautious approach in order to preserve energy.
All of which considered, we like the look of two particular bets that amount to variations on the same theme and we'll stake our claim on the Draw/Chelsea double result at 4/1 with Coral and Chelsea to win 1-0 at 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
1pt Draw/Chelsea double result against Liverpool at 4/1 (Coral)
0.5pt Chelsea to beat Liverpool 1-0 at 7/1 (Ladbrokes)
For more betting news and views, visit www.bestofthebets.com.Reuse content