Cardiff City and Liverpool face-off in the League Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday with Kenny Dalglish’s men hoping to end their six-year trophy drought.
Cardiff secured their passage into Sunday’s final after overcoming Crystal Palace on penalties in an edgy semi-final clash whilst Liverpool grabbed a 3-2 aggregate win over Premier League leaders Manchester City as they make their first appearance at the New Wembley Stadium.
Unsurprisingly, bookies make the Reds overwhelming favourites to lift the season’s first ‘major’ trophy and rightly so given the distance between both sides in the English football hierarchy.
Of course, it would take a brave men to bet against Kenny Dalglish’s men ending their six-year trophy drought having last tasted cup success in the 2006 FA Cup final when a Steven Gerrard-inspired performance helped overcome West Ham on penalties.
No trophy since then renders Sunday’s match against Cardiff City all the more important; a fact not lost on goalkeeper Pepe Reina who is determined to end the clubs barren run.
“When you are in a final they have to be won and that is our mission at Wembley on Sunday,” he told Goal.com.
“Six years without a title is too long for a club like Liverpool. We cannot fail to win this final.
“I came to Liverpool dreaming of moments like this: to be able to play in finals and winning titles. I’ve lived positive experiences already and want to repeat that this Sunday.
“There will be people who do not give too much importance to the Carling Cup but it is an official major tournament and you do not always have chances of reaching the final; therefore, we want to seize the moment,” he stressed.
So what can we expect ahead of Sundays final? Easy…
1. Luis Suarez To Score
It just seems inevitable does it not? After attracting much negative headlines after his behavior at Old Trafford, Luis Suarez has placed himself firmly in the ‘bad books’ of many football fans the country over.
Still, at his best, the Uruguayan striker is a fine footballer who is able to test the defence of any club not least Cardiff City’s.
Ladbrokes have it at 5/1 for Suarez to score the first goal – an attractive price for the betting heads out there.
We just wonder what the price is that the bunny-toothed forward hits a 30-yard screamer before unveiling a T-Shirt reading: ‘I Love Patrice Evra!’
2. Liverpool To Emerge Triumphant
As predictable as day and night. There is no way having eliminated Manchester City in the last four, as well as Chelsea and Stoke City in the earlier rounds to secure their passage into their first cup final since 2007, Liverpool will let this one slip.
3. Kenny Dalglish To Overplay The Carling Cup Victory
The situation the Reds find themselves in is much akin to Manchester United’s belated Carling Cup success in 2006 when, after two seasons without a trophy, the Red Devils smashed Wigan 4-0 to lift England’s least respected trophy.
But whereas Sir Alex Ferguson and the club attempted to shroud the win as some sort of genuine ‘achievement’, the rest of the country laughed profusely as Gary Neville and co. celebrated lifting a cup they historically ignored and disrespected.
Expect much of the same from Liverpool come Sunday afternoon.