This week sees Liverpool take on Chelsea not once, but twice, as Maurizio Sarri’s men make the trip to Anfield for a League Cup tie on Wednesday followed by the reverse fixture in the Premier League just three days later.
While Saturday’s league clash is perhaps the most important of the two matches, but the weight Wednesday’s cup tie should not be underestimated in the slightest, despite many people seeing the now coined Carabao Cup as a bit of a ‘Mickey Mouse’ trophy.
For one thing, Liverpool fans must not forget that this is the last piece of silverware that was added to our trophy cabinet back in 2012. Any chance to win any kind of silverware should be treated with the respect it deserves.
This is not to say that some fringe players – the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho – along with those seen as back-up options like Alberto Moreno, Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke shouldn’t be given a chance to prove a point to the manager, but throwing more first teamers into the mix to provide a stern test for Chelsea would be a welcome sign of intent from Liverpool.
Of course there’s also the risk of picking up injuries to some more pivotal players, but what’s the point in having squad depth if it’s not going to be utilised? After all, I’d rather run the risk and get our hands on some silverware than just throw in the towel with dour performances from third-string sides.
Let’s not also forget that this competition has provided the platform for many teams and managers in recent times to go on to achieve success in other competitions: Guardiola at Manchester City to name an obvious example.
No matter what success comes in in achieving a higher league finish or a good Champions League run, holding aloft a piece of silverware is an unparalleled achievement that has perhaps been missing for Liverpool Football Club for too long now.
And while some sections of the fan base may argue that it is a ‘lesser’ competition, there will be hordes of them who will be less than impressed should we go out with a whimper after neglecting the competition somewhat.
Fans want to see an all-conquering Liverpool team again, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t encompass the Carabao Cup as well.
On a more current note, this competition makes its way into Liverpool’s season as the side find themselves right in the middle of an imperious purple-patch, so what sense would it make to make a half-hearted effort to continue the momentum that everyone has worked so hard to build up at the start of this season?
Pitching up against Chelsea with a poor side, attitude and performance could perhaps do more harm than good and disrupt the squad’s feel good aura and rhythm, with a number of crucial matches coming up in the immediate future – not least the second game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Liverpool Football Club has a long running tradition of winning trophies, and the League Cup has featured heavily in our history, with eight previous triumphs in the competition. Would you scratch them from the Club’s history books just because it’s the League Cup? I don’t think so.
With this in mind, I’d like to see Klopp make his team have a real good go in this competition to save us the despair of looking back at the end of the season wishing we had put more importance behind the campaign at the very least.