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Stuart Dalgleish 12th Jan 2010 - 20:27

Last chance saloon for Reds

While it might be too early to say this is a season defining match for Liverpool, if they don't win this then surely their last chance of silverware will disappear.

Yes, they are in the Europa League, but will they really want to win that at the expense of finishing in the top four? I doubt it.

Their best bet is to give it their all in the FA Cup, a competition that they have got a good chance of winning after seeing their arch rivals Manchester United dumped out, forget Europe and also try make sure they finish in the top four.

Traipsing around Europe in a tournament which, let's be honest, doesn't hold the same excitement as the Champions League, with the size of Liverpool's squad will be of no use to them, and if (when) they get through this tie Burnley at home awaits them and realistically a good stab at a quarter-final place.

This is a game that Liverpool SHOULD cruise through, but they haven't had the best of success in this competition since winning it in 2006, their local rivals Everton knocked them out in the 4th round last season while Barnsley, who were looking certain for relegation to League One at the time, sensationally beat them at Anfield in the 5th round in 2008.

Those who look out for omen's could think the parallels between Barnsley then and Reading now who are struggling in the Championship are very similar, and to make it even more interesting the Royals have Brian Howard on their books who scored that memorable goal at the Kop end two years ago.

Surely he can't do it again? If you think he can then odds of 20/1 on first or last goal will certainly prove quite tempting, the midfield man is a 7/1 shot just to get on the scoresheet at any point of the game.

Liverpool's odds of 1/6 are way too short given their current form, even though they have lost just once in five games, they're nowhere near their best and I certainly wouldn't be steaming into them at that price. I think they will get through but I'd want more value for my money and would be looking at some double result options such as Draw/Liverpool at 16/5.

The draw in the 90 minute market is 9/2, while managerless Reading are a huge 11/1 to record a famous cup win.

Even though in general this season Liverpool have struggled, they have still hit the back of the net on a regular basis and have only failed to score in two of their last 17 games.

The main man is obviously Fernando Torres at 5/2 to strike first, but with seven goals in all comps Yossi Benayoun looks a bit better value at 5/1, and 5/4 to notch one at any time.

Reading are sitting just two points outside of the Championship drop zone, but have scored more goals than 6th placed Swansea, their problem is keeping them out the other end. A key factor for the Royals is the form of Gylfi Sigurdsson, the Icelandic midfield man has bagged five in his last nine games and could be a great shout at 14/1 to get the opener, 11/2 to score in 90 minutes.

Remember to join us In-Play to bet on a huge range of markets on this big cup clash.


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