|By PAUL GOUGH
Liverpool's dreadful start to the 2012-13 season could be about to get a whole lot worse, with the Reds facing a difficult opening to the defence of their League Cup title on Wednesday [Thursday morning Australian time].
That is because they face the big improvers in the English Premier League this season in West Bromwich Albion.
The Reds last season won the League Cup for a record eighth time after beating Championship side Cardiff City in a thrilling penalty shoot-out at Wembley, but under new manager Brendan Rodgers have made their worst start to a season in 50 years.
After five games, Liverpool find themselves in the relegation zone with no wins, two draws and three losses so far this season - the latest a painful 2-1 home loss to bitter rivals Manchester United last Sunday.
And now they have to travel to face West Brom in the League Cup, after it was the Baggies that began Liverpool's dreadful start with a 3-0 win at The Hawthorns on the opening day of the Premier League season.
West Brom, under new manager Steve Clarke, who took over after former manager Roy Hodgson won the England job, have started the season sensationally and sit in fourth place after five matches with ten points.
And despite their 3-0 rout over Liverpool little over a month ago, West Brom incredibly go into this match as underdogs.
|Norwich, Tottenham and Arsenal to win v League One opposition
||West Bromwich Albion to win v Liverpool at $2.70 at Luxbet|
While betting on the early rounds of the League Cup is often fraught with danger as the top teams often rest players and field weakened sides, the other big guns in action on Wednesday should be able to progress through to the Round of 16.
Manchester United - winners of this competition in 2006, 2009 and 2010 - are $1.44 favourites at Luxbet to win their third-round home tie against Newcastle at $6.50, while the draw at 90 minutes has appeal at $4.20.
Arsenal, searching for their first trophy since 2005, are heavy favourites at $1.18 to win at home against League One strugglers Coventry City at $12.50, while fellow Premier League clubs Norwich and Tottenham are also favourites against League One opposition.
And in the match pitting together two of the Premier League battlers in Queens Park Rangers and Reading, the Hoops are favourites at home at $1.83 at Luxbet.
*Note prices subject to change