Tonight sees the much anticipated third clash of the season between Manchester City and Liverpool as the two sides meet in the semi-final of the Carling Cup.
Steven Gerrard could be handed a start this evening, following an impressive return to the first XI in Friday night's FA Cup thumping of Oldham at Anfield.
Kenny Dalglish will look to field a full strength side, with the exception of the banned Luis Suarez. Craig Bellamy may be given license to wreak havoc on his old club.
Attention will be focussed on Andy Carroll and the service he is provided by Liverpool’s midfield and wide men. Carroll’s link up with Gerrard could be a crucial feature of tonight’s tie.
With Yaya and Kolo Toure at the Africa Cup of Nations, City will also be missing the presence of their influential captain. Belgian star Vincent Kompany has been a rock and will commence a four match suspension tonight after his red card against Manchester United in the FA Cup last Sunday.
David Silva has ankle trouble along with Mario Balotelli, whilst Edin Dzeko has a knee scare. Gareth Barry returns after suspension.
Liverpool have a rich and illustrious connection with the trophy.
- With seven wins, the Reds hold the record for lifting the trophy more than any other club. Liverpool also hold the League Cup Final appearances record (10).
- With five wins, the great Ian Rush has lifted the trophy more than any other player.
- Rush is the joint record League Cup Final appearance holder, making six individual final appearances. Liverpool’s record marksman shares this record with Emile Heskey.
- The ex-Red played in the 1997, 1999, and 2000 finals with Leicester City, Liverpool in 2001 and 2003 and Aston Villa in 2010.
- With 49 goals, Rush also holds the tournament goal scoring record with Sir Geoff Hurst.
- During the 1985 Sunderland v Norwich final 20-year-old ex-Liverpool utility man Barry Venison became the youngest ever final captain.
- The Reds were on the receiving end in 1983 when Norman Whiteside became the tournament’s youngest goal scorer in the final.
- The record win in the tournament title is shared, with both Liverpool and West Ham putting 10 goals past Fulham and Bury respectively.
On 23rd September 1986, 13,498 fans were at Anfield to witness the total demolition of the Cottagers. Midfield general Steve McMahon scored four, Ian Rush and John Wark contributed a brace, whilst Ronnie Whelan and Stevie Nicol chipped in a goal apiece. Hardman McMahon also missed a penalty too.
- In comparison, Manchester City have appeared in three League Cup finals and six semi-finals, winning it in 1970 and 1976 and finishing runners up in 1974.
- After the third round FA Cup defeat to Manchester United last Sunday, City will be champing at the bit. The Sky Blues previous loss in the Barclays Premier League against Martin O Neill’s Sunderland resulted in a rejuvenated City hammering the Reds at Eastlands 48 hours later.
With City hitting the heady heights of the league, and with players injured, on international duty and suspension, some may argue that the men in blue will not be at full throttle.
This is a test of City’s resolve and it is a predicament that Kenny Dalglish’s men are more than capable of capitalising on in the pursuit of silverware and a Champions League berth.