Charlie Nicholas predicts Capital One Cup semis: bad news for Liverpool, brilliant for Everton

The Sky Sports pundit believes Stoke City will beat Liverpool in the first leg of their semi-final, while backing Everton to overcome Manchester City.

Charlie Nicholas has backed Everton to beat Manchester City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final this week - and has predicted a Stoke City win against Liverpool, according to Sky Sports.

In both cases, the pundit feels a 2-1 home win is in order.

Nicholas is 'really surprised' Liverpool are considered favourites to beat Mark Hughes' in-form Potters side. And he also believes Everton's supporters would prioritise a major final at Wembley.

Nicholas told Sky Sports: "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. I really fancy Stoke but this tie won't be done and dusted in the first leg."

Meanwhile, on the Toffees, the Scot said: "Everton are safe and I think the majority of their supporters would want the chance to see their team play at Wembley in a major final.

"I'm not saying they can't finish in the top four in the Premier League this season, of course they can, but it's a game they should go for and try and win - and I have a sneaky feeling they will."

Even if Nicholas is right, of course, he admits the second leg could change everything. That applies to both ties.

Everton certainly have a chance against Manchester City; they put in a spirited performance against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon but City showed their resilience against Watford on Saturday evening.

Liverpool, meanwhile, proved their Capital One Cup credentials against Southampton when they won 6-1. Obviously, things have gone wrong for the Reds since, while Stoke City have been on fire.

But will league or cup form make a bigger impact this week? Liverpool face Stoke on Tuesday night, while Manchester City travel to Everton on Wednesday.

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