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Thursday's Sport: Manchester City and Liverpool return to action

Christmas may be approaching but the sporting action keeps coming thick and fast, with action from football, darts and horse racing catching the eye on Thursday.

Manchester City and Liverpool face off in the EFL Cup, while Luke Humphries and Gary Anderson are among those who are toeing the oche at the Ally Pally.

Thursday is also the final day of racing before the sport shuts down for Christmas, with all 30 races available on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

EFL Cup: Old rivals meet at the Etihad

What: Manchester City v Liverpool, EFL Cup
Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
When: 20:00, Thursday 22nd December
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event
Odds: Man City 10/11, Draw 13/5, Liverpool 3/1

It is almost six weeks since the Premier League shut down for the World Cup and top-flight teams are starting to get themselves going again and a number have used their midweek EFL games as a run-out for their festive programmes.

Arguably the tie of the fourth round is the last to be played as Manchester City host Liverpool.

The two clubs have won this tournament a combined 17 times and, while the likes of Julian Alvarez and Ibrahima Konate will be absent after featuring in Sunday's World Cup final, both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are expected to name strong sides.

After experiencing some pre-World Cup issues, City and the Reds will feel their season starts in earnest on Thursday and a win at the Etihad would provide a huge psychological boost.

Darts: 'Cool Hand Luke' headlines the evening

What: World Darts Championship
When: 15th December 2022 - 3rd January 2023
Where: Alexandra Palace, London
How to watch: Sky Sports
Odds: Michael van Gerwen 5/2, Michael Smith 5/1, Gerwyn Price 6/1, Peter Wright 9/1, Luke Humphries 14/1, Josh Rock 14/1

There are eight more second-round matches to look forward to from the Ally Pally on Thursday.

The afternoon session sees 14th seed Dirk van Duijvenbode close the show against Karel Sedlacek.

Van Duijvenbode was a quarter-finalist in 2021 and is 1/5 in the Match Winner market to beat Sedlacek, who defeated Raymond Smith 3-0 in the opening round.

Sixteenth seed Ryan Searle and 18th seed Krzysztof Ratajski begin their campaigns against Adam Gawlas and Danny Jansen respectively.

Into the evening and two-time champion Gary Anderson is a 1/3 Match Winner against Madars Razma, while James Wade takes on Jim Williams.

Two-time quarter-finalist Vincent van der Voort faces Cameron Menzies in the final match of the night, but before that all eyes will be on Luke Humphries when he meets German qualifier, Florian Hempel.

'Cool Hand Luke' reached the semi-finals of both the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals and has also won four times on the European Tour in 2022.

Humphries is a 1/5 Match Winner to beat Hempel, who was perhaps fortunate to beat Keegan Brown in the first round when averaging just 88.55.

Horse Racing: Four cards before Christmas break

What: Horse Racing
Where: Lingfield, Ayr, Ffos Las and Southwell.
When: 11.50am - 8.30pm, Thursday 22nd December
How to watch: Racing TV, Sky Sports Racing and bet365 Sports Live Streaming

Finally, to horse racing, and Thursday is the last day of action before the sport shuts down for Christmas.

Lingfield (11.50-3.20) gets things going, while the day also closes with all-weather fare from Southwell (5.00-8.30).

There are also jumps cards from Ayr (12.30-3.30) and Ffos Las (12.40-3.40) and all 30 races are available on the bet365 Sports Live Streaming service.

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