Guardiola has received the EFL Cup on a regular basis since arriving in Manchester, but the English champions have bigger problems to solve as they try to unseat surprise package Arsenal from the top spot in the Premier League standings.
As Man City resume domestic duties five points behind Arsenal in the standings following their dramatic late loss to Brentford, the City manager must feel a tinge of pride at seeing his former protege Mikel Arteta dominate the Premier League landscape in recent months.
Guardiola’s depleted team only put themselves to the test in one winter friendly, defeating Girona 2-0 behind goals from Erling Braut Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne.
Once again, Haaland and De Bruyne are expected to stand out in a Man City team that is largely unrecognisable. According to Guardiola, his team can only call upon “four or five” senior players as their World Cup contingent returns slowly.
Winners of the EFL Cup four years in a row between 2018 and 2021, Man City were memorably dumped out of the tournament on penalties by West Ham United in the fourth round last year, and their Merseyside opponents have already proven their penalty-kick prowess in the last season.
Liverpool grabbed their golden ticket with both hands to defeat Chelsea on penalties in the final, and after an Anfield stalemate, a battle of nerves from 12 yards was required to settle their third-round tie with Derby County. The perennial champions left early in the 2021–22 EFL Cup.
To the delight of the Liverpool fanbase, Conor Hourihane, Craig Forsyth, and Everton loanee Lewis Dobbin all missed Derby’s opportunities to score as Jurgen Klopp’s team started the defence of their title in a successful manner.
Stefan Bajcetic and Roberto Firmino also botched their opportunities from the penalty spot.
Before the World Cup break, that shootout victory would be the third of four straight competitive victories for Liverpool. During the World Cup break, Klopp’s team competed in the four-team Dubai Super Cup, losing 3-1 to Lyon before thrashing AC Milan 4-1, despite losing both penalty shootouts for an additional point.
With Liverpool aiming to avoid just a second fourth-round exit in the EFL Cup since the turn of the millennium, having most recently been defeated at this stage by Arsenal – coincidentally on penalties – in the 2020–21 season, Klopp won’t be losing sleep over those failures.
Two months ago, an inspired Liverpool defeated Man City 1-0 at Anfield in the Premier League, putting an early dent in City’s title hopes.
1×2 Betting Odds
With both managers closely monitoring their stars’ fitness and certain to field youthful-looking XIs on the Etihad turf, Thursday’s matchup will undoubtedly be less exciting than the fiery Man City-Liverpool ties fans have grown accustomed to seeing in recent years.
We can’t anticipate Liverpool nor Man City to advance past the quarterfinals because neither Klopp nor Guardiola can be counted on to rush players back for an EFL Cup match.
But the odds tell a different story!
Man City playing at the Etihad are the favourites in this, with odds @ 2.02.
Liverpool will be hopeful as they can use top players in their attack, but their odds of advancing past here are @ 4.00.
The possibility of a stalemate and extra time to follow suit stands @ 3.88.
Total goals over/under
The odds that the total number of goals score will be over 2.5, stands @ 1.61.
While the odds that the total number of goals will be under 2.5, stands @ 2.47.