A Cup Run Would Do Liverpool The World Of Good

There is no pretending that Jürgen Klopp cares about the domestic cups. Whilst I don’t buy into the oft-toted idea that the Liverpool manager actively wants the Reds to crash out of the FA Cup and League Cup, there is little question that he sees them as being low down on his list of priorities. The German has often spoken about the craziness of the winter schedule, which both domestic cups are definitely a part of, so it’s hardly a surprise that, when asked to prioritise, he looks towards the Premier League and Champions League more readily than either of the cups. It is something that a certain breed of Liverpool fan takes umbrage with, given the old mantra of ‘Liverpool Football Club exists to win trophies’. Yet over the past few years the manager’s decision to look away from the domestic cups has seen us win the top-flight title and Europe’s premier competition, as well as coming within a whisker of winning them both an extra time, so he got his priorities right.

This season, anyone with half a brain would be willing to acknowledge that the Premier League trophy is on its way to the Etihad once again. Whilst the British press might find it surprising, it turns out that if you spend more than a billion pounds assembling your squad, you can indeed win more trophies than anyone else. With the oil-funded Cityzens out of the League Cup, however, there is a chance that Liverpool can re-assert our dominance in the competition if we can get past two London clubs in the next couple of rounds. The FA Cup hasn’t opened up in quite the same way yet and Pep Guardiola’s side have got their customary easy draw for the fourth round, but the Reds can also be expected to make it round five given the nature of our own draw. Whilst the Champions League will and absolutely should be the priority once the competition gets back underway, there is enough in the Liverpool squad to suggest that a run in one, if not both, of the domestic cups would be a good move.

The League Cup Is There For The Taking

Thanks to Arsenal Fan TV, supporters of the North London club have long been a laughing stock with their Premier League rivals. Even so, I’m not sure anyone saw them losing their collective minds over Liverpool getting Covid coming. Their most swivel-eyed of fans must have been cringing at the response of some of their number at the fact that the Reds had an outbreak at their training centre of a disease that has officially killed more than 150,000 people, responding appropriately. Why on earth did they think we wanted the game postponed? What benefit would it serve us to have the second-leg played away from home instead of at Anfield, given there is zero chance of having either Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah back in time to take part in it? The conspiracy theories cooked up by the Gooners don’t stand up to even the slightest bit of scrutiny, yet that hasn’t stopped the cranks and weirdos from numerous different clubs deciding that we’re trying to gain an advantage.

Arsenal’s FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest suggests that they aren’t in the best of form heading into our League Cup clash. That isn’t to say that we’ll beat them across two legs, but it is certainly true that the opportunity to do so is there. If we can get a win on the board over the two legs then we’ll almost certainly end up facing Chelsea in the final. Having played them twice this season already and drawn with them both times, it then becomes something of a coin toss regarding which side would walk away with the trophy. If you want to win silverware then you’ve got to beat the best teams, so there’s nothing Liverpool should fear about taking on the West Londoners if we get the chance to. It would be nice to give the travelling Kop a trip to Wembley, to say nothing of the fact that it would allow us to move back ahead of Manchester City in terms of the club that has won it the most times. That is the sort of thing that really isn’t to be sniffed at.

The FA Cup Holds Fond Memories For Many

I do not have a good memory. Though I turn forty this year, I think that has less to do with my age and more to do with me always looking forward. I have been a Liverpool fan all of my life, yet one of the earliest memories I have of enjoying the club’s success came in 2001, when I was 18. The Reds had already won the League Cup, but were 1-0 down to Arsenal when a Michael Owen brace saw us lift the famous trophy for the the sixth time in our history. For all that I understand why people loathe Owen for what he went on to do, he will always hold a special place in my heart because of that FA Cup final. Though I wasn’t in the ground at Cardiff for the final six years later, I was in the city and did get to soak up the atmosphere as the Reds once again won the oldest national football competition in the world. It is fair to say, therefore, that I do have a fondness for the FA Cup, even if I think that the competition has lost its way in recent years and isn’t as important as it once was.

For many older football fans, the FA Cup will always hold a special place in their hearts. Even when I was growing up, the competition took pride of place in the British footballing calendar, receiving a full day’s coverage by the BBC. People would tune-in to watch it even if their own team wasn’t playing in it, which helps to explain why people like my dad always think that the Reds should take it more seriously than we appear to have done in recent years. I don’t think Jürgen Klopp actively wants us to get knocked out of it, but I do think that the German hasn’t been heart-broken when his side has struggled to make it deep in the competition. I think his approach this year is likely to be dictated by how well we do in the Champions League, but with the top-flight title all but beyond our grasp, I do hope that we put more effort in than usual to lift the trophy for the first time in 16 years.

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