The Carabao Cup favourites going into this year’s competition were comfortably Manchester City. Last year’s UEFA Champions League winners were expected to capture the only trophy that evaded them in their remarkable 2022/23 campaign.
However, Pep Guardiola’s hopes of winning the competition for a fifth time were halted by Newcastle United, who performed a professional counter-attacking display to upset the Cityzens in the third round at St James’ Park.
The competition has now been blown wide open and several teams have strong claims to being potential winners at Wembley in February. The domestically dominant City have never bowed out of the cup this early before, but in doing so they have awarded a number of teams with a great chance of glory in their absence.
Liverpool are one of the teams that will be seriously eyeing silverware in the Carabao Cup this season. Jurgen Klopp’s team went trophy-less last season and will be desperate to change their fortunes this time around. The competition represents a huge opportunity for them to capture the first piece of silverware that will be up for grabs this campaign.
Liverpool began the competition as the second favourites behind their long-term rivals in Manchester. Now that City have been knocked out, however, they’re fancied as the most likely outright champions in 2024. A number of new betting sites in the UK offer Carabao Cup odds including talkSPORT BET, which offers Liverpool at 7/2 to extend their record trophy haul in the competition to 10 titles.
The Reds began the opening two months of the league season impeccably, but it will take a remarkable effort to keep up with City’s pace as the season goes on. The League Cup could represent the perfect chance for Liverpool to succeed as Klopp will not have to face his long term rival, Guardiola.
Liverpool lacks quality in depth, in some key areas such as at right back, and there are question marks over their first-choice defensive midfield option.
They are a team in transition, arguably unsuited to the challenge of winning a title challenge just yet, but with their excellent attacking options from the start and off the bench, they could have too much for any of the opposition that they face in the Carabao Cup this season.
| Diogo Jota vs Leicester City:
• Goals – 1
• Chances Created – 3 ( )
• Big Chances Created – 1
• Shot Accuracy – 2/2
• Touches – 50
• Successful Dribbles – 3/4 ( )
• Final 3rd Passes – 3
• Accurate Crosses – 1/1
• Clearances – 1
• Interceptions –
• Recoveries… pic.twitter.com/bxSwFWYmvJ
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) September 27, 2023
Players with immense technical abilities like Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota aren’t necessarily undisputed starters in the Liverpool team – the Reds have a level of attacking firepower that nobody else in the competition can contend with.
Chelsea began their Premier League season in disappointing form having managed to win only once out of their first six fixtures. They undoubtedly have an immensely talented squad, however, that simply needs time to gel before its true capabilities are shown.
The Carabao Cup could represent the perfect stage for the Blues’ new signings to build form and confidence, which could benefit the club across all of the endeavours throughout the 2023/24 campaign.
In the league, there’s been huge pressure for the new signings to perform immediately, as there’s a small margin for error in the most competitive top-flight division in the world.
Chelsea have already fallen far behind in the race for the European qualification places, but winning the League Cup would provide a path back into Europe for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
The Argentine is evidently still unsure of his strongest tactical setup, and the cup competition could provide the perfect environment for experimentation and significant minutes for thus far unproven talents.
Pochettino on Chelsea job: “It’s less than hard it was in Southampton and Tottenham, Trust me, believe me”.
“The only thing we are missing is to score goals”, Poch added. pic.twitter.com/yZPqS2D4zE
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 27, 2023
Chelsea can take the tournament game-by-game, prioritising giving minutes to the players who are struggling for form in the league. The Blues certainly have the talent to go far if they can become a compact unit and build chemistry among the ranks.
Manchester United and Arsenal are also huge competitors
Liverpool and Chelsea could both utilise the competition to claim much-needed silverware. The Reds are looking to mark their recent rebuild with a major honour, while Chelsea are
looking to prove that their personal rebuild was somewhat of a success despite contradictory league results.
However, the two teams will have no straightforward path to Wembley glory. Reigning champions Manchester United will be bidding to defend their title, but they will face a difficult task in Newcastle in the fourth round – whom their currently dominant rivals could not conquer.
Arsenal could similarly to Liverpool look to take advantage of their rivals’ absence in the latter stages of the cup this season to nail silverware themselves. Mikel Arteta’s team were pegged back by Guardiola’s team after flirting with league success last campaign and will be motivated to claim an honour that City are no longer in the running for.
All of the top English clubs have huge motivations for going all of the way in the Carabao Cup this season, and there are huge amounts of quality on display throughout all of them.
Klopp’s team are now the favourites, but Newcastle showed against City that huge upsets are always possible in the domestic cups. The team’s odds in the betting markets will likely fluctuate frequently up until the winner is crowned in the eventual final next year.