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EFL Cup Final: Player of the Match odds

The Alan Hardaker Trophy is given out to the Player of the Match in the EFL Cup final, and Mohamed Salah is the 7/2 favourite ahead of Sunday’s clash between Liverpool and Chelsea.

Virgil van Dijk won the award the last time these two sides met in an EFL Cup final, and the Dutchman is a 16/1 shot to repeat the feat this time around.

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “Should he put in another Player of the Match performance then he’ll be joining the likes of John Terry and Vincent Kompany in lifting the trophy twice.

“Both were great players who donned the armband and were huge leaders at their respective clubs – something that you could also say about the Dutchman.”

Liverpool will need their skipper at his best on Sunday, particularly with something of an injury crisis on their hands.

Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold are out injured, joining long-term absentees Joel Matip and Thiago on the treatment table, while Curtis Jones and Dominik Szoboszlai are likely to miss out. Alisson, Salah and Darwin Nunez all missed the win against Luton, but Jurgen Klopp will hope to at least have his two forwards fit if not Alisson as well.

Mauricio Pochettino has struggled with numerous injuries to his squad all season and will be without a number of defenders on Sunday. Thiago Silva is set to miss the Wembley showpiece, alongside defensive colleagues Reece James, Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella, though his attacking options remain plentiful.

There has been a wide variety of winners over the last 10 years. The 2023 final was won by Casemiro’s first-half header before Marcus Rashford added a second shortly after and it was the Brazilian who was named Player of the Match.

The year before we saw a goalless 120 minutes with Virgil van Dijk winning the Alan Hardaker Trophy as Liverpool triumphed on penalties. In 2021, Riyad Mahrez’s constant threat down the wing might not have produced a goal, but was enough to win Player of the Match as Aymeric Laporte scored the game’s only goal.

The year before, Phil Foden was handed the award with the then-19-year-old laying on an assist for Manchester City’s opener and Bernardo Silva triumphed in 2019 following City’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

The Player of the Match has been given to centre-backs on multiple occasions with John Terry and Vincent Kompany each winning twice with Van Dijk winning once.

It’s also worth noting that the award has been given to a player on the winning side in all 34 years it’s been given out, suggesting a Liverpool player is more likely to be named Player of the Match, with the Reds 8/13 to lift the trophy and Chelsea 13/10.

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