Jurgen Klopp Liverpool
Can Jurgen Klopp inspire Liverpool to a semifinal victory over Stoke City?Reuters

Stoke City vs Liverpool and Everton vs Manchester City – two exciting, cannot-really-predict-the-result Capital One Cup semifinals that will no doubt go right down to the wire over the course of the two legs.

While Liverpool have blown hot and cold under Jurgen Klopp, brilliant one moment and utterly dire the next, Stoke have been one of the more entertaining teams in the English Premier League this season, with their attacking quartet of Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic turning on the style.

Mark Hughes has moulded this Stoke team into the near-opposite of the Tony Pulis version, and no fan – Liverpool supporters exempt, of course -- will really begrudge the Potters getting into the final of the League Cup. To do that, they need to beat Liverpool over two legs, starting with the first one at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday.

With both teams suffering defeats in the Premier League at the weekend, there will be that we-need-to-bounce-back feeling, with Liverpool, in particular, in need of a response. Their performance against West Ham was woeful, with Klopp left with little choice but to criticise his own players.

Stoke were beaten by West Brom, a team now managed by Pulis, via a late winner, and the problem for Hughes will be that his team haven't really been able to string a bunch of positive results together. However, if those four up front catch fire, Stoke are capable of beating any team, as Manchester City and Manchester United found out this season.

There is certainly more potency in the Stoke ranks at the moment, and over the two legs, that could prove to be the difference. If Liverpool find the same attacking mojo when they pasted Southampton in the quarterfinals, though, the tie will only go one way.

The second semifinal is equally intriguing, with Everton keen to reach another cup final, while Manchester City look to keep their treble hopes intact. The Toffees have been exciting going forward this season, but the defence has been suspect.

It will be extremely difficult to keep Manchester City's ridiculous firepower quiet over two legs, so this might just come down to you-score-and-then-i-will-score-and-now-let's-see-who-scores-the-most contest, which means a lot of fun for the neutral.

Capital One Cup schedule: Semifinal 1: First leg: Tuesday, 5 January: Stoke City vs Liverpool (3 pm ET, 8 pm GMT, 1.30 am IST) at the Britannia.

Second leg: Tuesday, 26th January: Liverpool vs Stoke City (2.45 pm ET, 7.45 pm GMT, 1.15 am IST) at Anfield.

Semifinal 2: First leg: Wednesday, 6 January: Everton vs Manchester City (3 pm ET, 8 pm GMT, 1.30 am IST) at Goodison Park.

Second leg: Wednesday, 27 January: Manchester City vs Everton (2.45 pm ET, 7.45 pm GMT, 1.15 am IST) at the Etihad.

TV listings: India: Ten Action and Ten HD. UK: Sky Sports. USA, Canada, Australia, Middle East, North Africa, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Philippines: Bein Sports.

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