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THE LEAGUE CUP TIE THAT MEANT NOTHING BUT EVERYTHING

Villa v Liverpool

You know me. I like to be different. I’m old skool. I’m more attracted to the amount of silverware the club can bank than the money it can bank. In the run up to this week’s fixtures I was actually more focused on the League Cup Quarter Final tie against Villa than tonight’s Club World Cup tie; purely because that came first. I didn’t even want to consider the Club World Cup until last night’s match was sorted one way or another.

The League Cup fixture has now past though, so of course I’m now fired up for tonight’s match. Yesterday’s defeat is history and we can put it to bed.


I completely accept that the Club World Cup has to take priority but I was so looking forward to our youngsters having a go against Villa. I feel really bad for them. They gave their all in a competition that was unfair to them and unfair to Liverpool Football Club in general. We should never have been put in this predicament.

The League Cup may mean nothing to the modern day supporter but it meant everything to those boys who represented last night. It also meant something to me. I saw players wearing Liverpool’s famous colours, I saw heart, I saw determination, I saw pride. How could you not care about the outcome just because of another game 24 hours later?

Memories are made from Cup final successes. For me personally, I can think of many great finals in the domestic cups and all of the memories that can never be taken away from me. I tend not to think too much about the defeats!

There is virtually no financial incentive to win the League Cup but I don’t look it at that way. I think of those rare days out at Wembley with friends and loved ones. Modern day fans write off the League Cup and even the FA Cup these days but they soon have an interest if their team makes the final. The Premier League’s ‘Big Guns’ then deploy their strongest sides and rightly so.

There has been a lot of discussion on the KopTalk Members’ website this week about the League Cup competition. Should it be canned? Should it be shaken up? Should it become an Under 23 tournament and so on. Liverpool fans are finally enjoying themselves again thanks to the success achieved under Jürgen Klopp but let’s not forget how long it was since we won some silverware prior to last season’s Champions League win and what competition that actually was. Now tell me that it doesn’t matter.

Modernise, adapt, change with the times, prioritise, but let’s not be dismissive or ignorant. It’s easy to hold a particular attitude when you’re at the top.

The modern-day Liverpool supporter may be happy to talk about axing the League Cup or making it a Under 23 competition but let’s not forget that there’s plenty of clubs out there, many of which are in the Premier League, that would give anything to lift it. Play it down, deploy the kids or whatever, but just because it doesn’t interest you any more doesn’t mean you have to kill its importance to everyone else. We, of course, will treat it as our club of our standing needs to. We don’t need to deploy the Big Guns even if we were in a position to do so, but let’s not just the competition is irrelevant.

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We all understand that the Premier League and the Champions League are the two priorities. That’s our bread and butter, those are the real prizes and that’s where the money is, especially with regards European football. The domestic cups are no longer important when we’re dining at the top table, no problem. I don’t really want to defend the League Cup, I’m just saying that as a fan I want to win everything we compete in. When we compare our trophy hauls against rival fans we soon include every bit of silverware that we can. We don’t leave the League Cup out.

Notice how I always refer to the competition as the League Cup? I don’t recognise all the stupid names its been given. This devalues it even further in my eyes and then there’s the disrespectful ways that the draws are made by the sponsors. Draws have been made in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City so to try and correct those controversial decisions they brought the draw back to London … to a Morrisons supermarket.

I enjoy the FA Cup and League Cup because I enjoy seeing the so called ‘big’ clubs coming up against teams from down the divisions. I enjoy cup upsets, unless, of course, we’re on the end of one. I just like football.

After the game, I was receiving messages from people who don’t really follow football very closely saying ‘OMG 5-0!’. I then had to explain that it was basically our 3rd team and what the situation was. That score still goes down in the history books and it p*sses me off that we were forced into that situation.

I don’t think the competition should be scrapped for the reasons given above but I do think it needs sexing-up a bit. The prize money means nothing to the league’s richest clubs and there’s no real incentive to lift the trophy for them. There’s something dreadfully wrong with the sponsorship agreements if they can only offer £100,000 to the winners and £50,000 to the runners-up. In comparison, whoever wins this year’s PDC World Championship (darts) that’s currently taking place will win £500,000 and the runner-up will receive a consolation prize of £200,000. I can’t get my head around that. Darts vs English football? Up the prize money and maybe clubs will take it more seriously. A simplistic suggestion but it’s a start.

Anyway, like me, I’m sure you really wanted our kids to win last night. I wanted the win for them more so than I did myself. It might of meant nothing to most people but it meant everything to those kids. They did their best, they did us proud.

So the more important stuff starts this evening and I will cheer on the side that is deployed tonight exactly the same as I did the one last night. Rookies or experienced pros, Mickey Mouse competitions or the Crème de la crème, we are Liverpool Football Club. We exist to win.

YNWA

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Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor

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