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With the Premier League winter break now behind us, it is time for Liverpool to return to action and although top-flight matters are still a few days away, it is the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup that will keep them busy this weekend.
They play host to Cardiff on Saturday and with the EFL Championship outfit not being afforded anything in the way of rest, they will now look to put their current second tier struggles behind them.
With Liverpool being heavy favourites to advance to the Fifth Round, there is not going to be a great deal of value when it comes to simply placing them on your betting coupon and this means, we may need to dig a little further.
Which is why the Over/Under market is always a good way to enhance what is on your betting slip and although Liverpool may not be at their fullest strength in attack, goals are unlikely to be in short supply.
Which means if you think the Merseyside men will get the job done against Cardiff and there will also be a total of over 2.5 goals on Saturday, you can join me in backing them at odds of 3/2 with bet365
Although Jurgen Klopp would not like to admit it publicly, he is privately hoping that both Burkina Faso and Cameroon earn passage to this weekend’s final of the 2022 AFCON tournament.
Because in doing so, it would mean that both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane would be freed from their own respective international duties and available to face Cardiff this weekend.
Then again, the fact that Salah and Mane may be busy for another few days, may not be of actual consideration to Klopp and with the supporting cast doing such a great job in January, they may also have to act at the start of February.
Because with successive wins in the Premier League, Liverpool have managed to breathe in new life into this season’s title race and although they are currently nine points behind Manchester City, they do have a game in hand.
Which is testament to the likes of Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and after stepping up to the plate against both Brentford and Crystal Palace, they could also be trusted when Cardiff come to Anfield.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Cardiff, Naby Keita will be available after being away on AFCON duty. Although this cup tie may just come around too soon for either or both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for the same reason.
While in addition to that, both Thiago and Divock Origi look unlikely to win the race against fitness and are set to miss out due to injury.
Although it is getting tight at the bottom of the Championship, Cardiff have at least given themselves a bit of breathing space in the past week and after a surprise win over Nottingham Forest, their plight at the bottom has been eased ever so slightly.
With the South Wales outfit now six points clear of Peterborough, it means the tension at the Cardiff City Stadium has been dialled down a notch and although they are by no means out of the woods, the threat of demotion does not loom as large as it did before.
However, any relegations fear that they may or may not have are immaterial for this weekend only and with a trip to Merseyside on the agenda, manager Steve Morison will now look to mastermind a cup shock instead.
After Mick McCarthy left the club last November, it is veteran striker Morison who has been given the managerial reins until the end of the season and although his main priority will be survival in the Championship, he would love nothing more than a run in the cup.
Whether that run goes any further this weekend is something that remains to be seen and even with Liverpool being slightly weakened due to AFCON responsibilities, it is going to be a rather tall order for Cardiff this Saturday.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Liverpool, Cardiff have a relatively clean bill of health and it is only long-term absentee Joel Bagan that will not be making his way to Merseyside at the weekend.
Although Liverpool are one of the more dominant forces in English football today, history has not always been kind to them when they face Cardiff, and it is actually the Welsh side that has been out on top more often than not.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Liverpool have won on 14 occasions, Cardiff 18 and there have been 2 draws. Although this does come with a caveat and that is the fact that Liverpool have won each of the last six outings between the two.
It may not be as big as some of its Premier League counterparts, but nobody can doubt the roar that is generated from Anfield and with many cup memories already being created at this ground, the Liverpool fans will look to cheer their stars onto another victory this weekend.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
Although Liverpool may not be full strength for this encounter, they will certainly be the favourites and if a professional job is carried out by those selected, then there will be no complaints from Jurgen Klopp.
At the same time, Cardiff come here with nothing to lose and without relegation concerns to weigh on their mind, they will look forward to playing against world-class opposition - even if it does mean defeat at the end of 90 minutes.