League Cup Final legends

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This weekend’s League Cup final sees heavy-favourites Liverpool take on Championship underdogs Cardiff City.

The Reds are chasing a record eighth victory in the competition, having last lifted the trophy in 2003 with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium.

On that day, a team effort helped Gerard Houllier’s side lift the famous trophy in Wales, but there are plenty of examples where individuals have made the difference at the showpiece event.

And, ahead of Sunday’s Wembley clash, we look back at those players who have made the biggest difference on the big day.

Ben Foster

Manchester United 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Man Utd win 4-1 on penalties

2008/09 final

In a game low on quality, Red Devils stopper Ben Foster was the difference between the two sides. His save to deny Aaron Lennon a winner in normal time was sensational, outdone only by his own heroics in the penalty shoot-out.

After quickly using a bit of modern technology to scout-up on Spurs’ penalty takers, Foster saved Jamie O’Hara’s first kick for the north London side, and when David Bentley missed his two, the trophy was heading to Old Trafford.

Didier Drogba

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

2007/08 final

So often the man for the final occasion, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba stepped-up to the plate once more for Jose Mourinho’s side, grabbing a vital brace of goals against a young Arsenal side with an average age under 21.

The Ivorian international pulled the Blues level on 20 minutes, taking advantage of a favourable decision from the assistant referee, before heading home the winner with just six minutes remaining.

Alan Nielsen

Leicester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

1998/99 final

In one of the worst finals in living memory, Alan Nielsen wrote his name into Spurs folklore (of sorts) with a 90th minute winner against Leicester.

Justin Edinburgh saw red midway through the second-half as the Foxes pressed for a winner, but midfielder Nielsen won the day for George Graham’s side on a dreary afternoon at Wembley.

Steve McManaman

Liverpool 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

1994/95 final

Steve McManaman stole the show at Wembley, scoring twice for the Reds to help secure victory against Bruce Rioch’s Trotters.

The attacking midfielder opened the scoring on 37 minutes, and scored again on 68 minutes to send the trophy back to Anfield.

Paul Merson

Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

1992/93 final

A final perhaps best remembered for Steve Morrow’s broken arm, but it was Paul Merson who made the difference at Wembley as the Gunners came from behind to sink the Owls.

After John Harkes put the underdogs in-front, it was Merson who pulled Arsenal level with a long-range effort before his cross fell at the feet of Morrow, who struck the winner low and hard past Chris Woods.

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Didier Drogba
League Cup

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