The Reds are priced as slight favourites to beat the Potters despite losing three of their last four Premier League games on the road, including a 2-0 loss at West Ham.
I’m really surprised Liverpool are the favourites for this one
Mark Hughes’s side suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, although the Potters were 4-3 winners against Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton last week.
Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas says he can’t see which of Jurgen Klopp’s players will inspire the Reds to a much-needed victory following their loss at Upton Park on Saturday.
“Liverpool will be looking for a reaction after the West Ham defeat, but it’s difficult to see where it will come from,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“If they play Christian Benteke, it will suit Stoke because Ryan Shawcross loves a battle. Adam Lallana and Philippe Couthino have been really disappointing and I’m not sure if Daniel Sturridge is fit, but Liverpool definitely need a lift.
“I’m really surprised Liverpool are the favourites for this one. Stoke have been terrific at home and for me have far more match winners.
“Marko Arnautovic is one of the players of the season for me – he thrives on the big occasions and has scored some cracking goals. I really fancy Stoke but this tie won’t be done and dusted in the first leg.”
Liverpool booked their place in the League Cup last four following a resounding 6-1 victory over Southampton at St Mary’s in the quarter-finals in December.
The Reds were 1-0 winners at Stoke in the Premier League earlier this year after Philippe Coutinho’s long-range winner.
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