Liverpool vs. Reading: FA Cup Betting Preview
Liverpool were held at the Madejski stadium when they travelled to Reading for their FA Cup third round tie but the Reds should have no trouble in the replay on home soil and Rafa Benitez’s side can gain a much needed confidence boost.
Nobody is going to get rich backing the Premier League outfit at around the 1.20 mark to triumph over their Championship opponents but Liverpool look a decent bet at 1.86 with Ladbrokes to defy a 1.75 Asian Handicap and can get back on track in style.
The Anfield club, already out of the Premier League title race and Champions League, know that the FA Cup along with Europa League now represents their only chance of silverware in 2010 and, as with the game in Berkshire 10 days ago, I expect Benitez to name a strong starting line up.
Just how good that line up is in relation to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United is questionable but the two genuine world class talents Liverpool possess, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, will fancy themselves against a porous Reading backline and they can enjoy another productive evening in tandem. >
Liverpool, who have found the net 26 times already in 10 top flight matches in front of their own fans, recorded an impressive 1-0 win at Villa Park last time out in the Premier League and their only absentee on Wednesday is likely to be the suspended Javier Mascherano. A fourth round home tie with Burnley awaits and their manageress opponents appear set for a tough night.
Given their woeful home form, just one win all season, it was credit to the Royals that they contained the Merseyside club for the majority of the original tie but they have not won in five matches since the dismissal of former coach Brendan Rodgers and currently lie 34 places lower than Wednesday’s visitors on the league ladder.
Four wins away from home in the second tier is a decent return at this stage of the season but this is a different test altogether and Reading have already conceded 23 goals on their travels. That’s well over two per game and only Scunthorpe possess a worse defensive record away from home than the Royals.
With a crucial run of league fixtures on the horizon, as Reading bid to fight off relegation, temporary boss Brian McDermott could well have one eye on the weekend clash with Nottingham Forest were his side to fall behind early and I certainly hope that’s the case.
As Liverpool look to silence the critics its unlikely Benitez will ask his men to take their foot off the pedal should they establish an early lead and the home side are tipped to prevail by the required margin. Siding with long odds-on favourites in such a way often proves profitable and this looks another good opportunity to take advantage.
2pts Back Liverpool (-1.75, vs. Reading) @ 1.86 (Ladbrokes)
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