Football | Liverpool to crash out of Carabao Cup to Aston Villa? | Carabao Cup quarter-final preview

We are into the quarter-final stage of the Carabao Cup, with the midweek fixtures set to determine who will battle it out over two legs for a spot underneath the Wembley arch in the final on 1st March next year.

Here we run through some of the best bets across the four games. Visit our website for all available Carabao Cup odds.

Main selections:

Jack Grealish to score first against Liverpool, 6/1.

Everton to beat Leicester, 15/8.

Manchester United to beat Colchester 2-0, 7/1.

Aston Villa v Liverpool

It’s no secret that Jurgen Klopp will be fielding a significantly weakened outfit at Villa Park, with many players set to travel to Qatar for the Club World Cup this week. This will give Aston Villa and manager Dean Smith a considerable boost of confidence, particularly due to the absences of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. With that in mind, it’s little surprise that Villa go into the game as 1/4 favourites.

They have lifted this cup five times but opponents Liverpool have managed the feat a record eight times and reached the final on another four occasions. Villa will, though, effectively be facing off against a Liverpool B team and while it’s hard to say just how young a side will be fielded, it’s an ideal opportunity for the hosts to turn their fortunes around after a recent run of three defeats.

Jack Grealish could be one to watch, having scored four in eight games before missing a penalty in Villa’s last game when losing 2-0 at Sheffield United. He is 6/1 to score first and 6/4 to score at any time.

Everton v Leicester City

Leicester may be flying high in the league but a last-eight trip to Goodison Park is not one to be taken lightly, particular following Duncan Ferguson’s appointment as interim Toffees manager. Everton have since fought their way to a 3-1 win over Chelsea before clinching a point at Old Trafford last time out. What makes these feats even more notable is that their team has consisted pretty much of the walking wounded, bare bones of the squad.

These two teams faced off recently in the league and Everton were unfortunate not to nick a point when eventually succumbing 2-1 to a Foxes side who have been one a few surprise packages in the league this season.

That said, Leicester go into this match following a poor 1-1 draw at home with strugglers Norwich which signalled the end of a winning run of nine games in all competitions, giving Everton even more confidence here. The odds declare them the underdogs but a bold backing of the Toffees could pay off at a price of 15/8.

Oxford United v Manchester City

Manchester City are looking to lift the Carabao Cup for the third successive season and it’s hard to envisage them not securing a semi-final place when travelling to Oxford United on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side has so far this season failed to live up to the high expectations imposed upon modern Manchester City outfits but, while the League Cup is hardly their priority, they should ease comfortably through.

Oxford will be preparing for this game as though it is a final but ultimately will do well to keep the margin of their defeat respectable. On that note, and in terms of finding value, it could be prudent to look towards the correct score market and a 4-0 City result may prove profitable at 8/1. It’s worth noting the slightly braver punt that could pay significantly more dividends, with the 5-0 available at 11/1.

Manchester United v Colchester

The Red Devils appear to be finding form of late, taking three points in their clashes with both Tottenham Hotspur and rivals Manchester City. While this gets their aspirations for a top-four finish in the Premier League back on track, they have also been exemplary in their cup efforts this season and have advanced to the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Colchester have, of course, made their way through four rounds of the Carabao Cup so far, with their most impressive feat being the slaying of Spurs in a penalty shootout. The tenacity displayed in that giant-killing will serve them well here but the trip to Old Trafford will likely prove one hurdle too many and United should see them off with relative ease.

It doesn’t seem like a thrashing is on the cards, as huge scorelines haven’t been prevalent in United’s campaign so far and Colchester have only conceded one goal in their previous four games in the cup. Under 2.5 goals by the home team can be backed at 11/8, with more value available when staking on a 2-0 United win at 7/1.

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