I have been wondering, are Liverpool more equipped this year to win the League Cup than last season? I appreciate the easy answer is yes, but are we really?
Liverpool had indifferent form last season when we seemed to play our best football in the Cup games. The players and crowds buoyed on by the possibility of a cup final or two. Who doesn’t like a cup final? We have been one of the most successful teams domestically across Europe.
Last season’s run
Last season we went through to the final having beaten Stoke City 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate score. Having won away we lost 1-0 at Anfield.
The final against Man City at Wembley was another difficult 1-1 draw, where we went on and lost 3-1 on a dramatic penalty shootout. Where Willy Caballero was Manchester City’s hero with impressive saves from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shoot-out.
Jürgen Klopp’s reaction is something we’ve grown accustomed: “We feel down but now we have to stand up. Only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat.
“We will strike back. We have felt how it is to lose. It is not the best moment but on Monday morning maybe we can change everything.
“We will go on and we will get better. We have to work really hard, carry on and there is light at the end of the tunnel. This important.”
Their reply was a 3-0 win several days later in the Premier League, absolutely destroying Manchester City.
This time last season we destroyed Southampton, one of the most successful games where Klopp played Origi and Sturridge together. Running out 6-1 winners is a great achievement. The two of them working in tandem was a joy to watch.
This year is different?
Facing Leeds you have to be optimistic. Looking at our team sheet it is not our strongest, with 8 changes from the win against Sunderland. However unlike last season, it feels different.
The team has grown up. The ‘kids’ are growing up. There’s a self-assured swagger this season. Whilst we have a smaller squad they seem closer. Team ethic and a group unity is so important for Klopp. As is not getting carried away. He knows when the kids are off the leash he can rein them back in quickly.
This season we have raised our games against the so-called ‘Big boys’. We slipped against Burnley were we couldn’t make 80% possession count.
But, unlike last season we have learnt from that. Man United parked the bus. However against Sunderland who had little or no intention on attacking we found a way through. Origi after coming on made the difference.
Do we now have a plan B?
Regardless of what people have said, we have a plan B. You only have to question whether plan B was forced or not? Had Coutinho not been injured would Klopp had made the change?
The main thing to take from it is the teams reaction. The response was phenomenal. When the crowd was quiet Klopp reacted. Angry as he wound them up – demanding a response. The response they gave inspired the team. Demonstrating the link between the crowd and team. This was missing during large parts of last season.
A good Cup run, whether it be the league Cup or FA Cup really gives the team an opportunity to build upon it. Maximising upon this will provide Klopp the stepping stone to a very successful title run.
So in answer to the initial question ‘are Liverpool more equipped this year to win the League Cup than last season?’ There is one simple answer – YES
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.
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