Liverpool vs Derby County
Anfield is the venue as Liverpool and Derby County lock horns in a seemingly straightforward English League Cup third-round task for the hosts.
An underwhelming 2-1 home defeat at the hands of bottom-half Premier League underachievers Leeds United has seemingly rekindled old flames among Jurgen Klopp’s men, who have since won back-to-back competitive matches, including a 2-0 beating of Napoli. With Liverpool being responsible for Napoli’s only competitive loss in 2022/23, it’s fair to assume the ‘Reds’ are coming back to being their former selves, as witnessed by a 2-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. Keen to pick up where they left off, the Merseyside heavyweights can draw confidence from their stellar competitive home form this season (W7, D2, L1). Barring the abovementioned disappointment against Leeds, they’ve won four of their last five competitive home games without conceding, with each of those triumphs featuring under 2.5 total goals.
As for Derby County, a 2-2 draw at lower-league outfit Torquay at the weekend sums up the visitors’ rough patch in a nutshell. Demoted to League One, courtesy of financial turmoil, they currently languish on the periphery of the third-tier playoff spots. Indeed, Paul Warne’s men have only won once in their last six competitive outings (D3, L2), conceding 2+ gols in half of them. If that’s not enough to explain Derby’s underdog status in this fixture, then an abysmal run of one win from their last five away encounters (D2, L2) should do the trick. With seven of their nine previous competitive matches on the road containing under 2.5 goals, it takes no rocket science to assume a low-scoring theme could be the order of the day.