Liverpool’s Carling Cup Silverware Will Be A Catalyst For Greater Glories

Following the long awaited end to their trophy drought, a sense of optimism surrounding Liverpool Football Club is inevitable, with fans predictably praying that the team can use the result as a springboard for the rest of the season. They are still in the FA Cup and the fight for fourth, so their fate is still largely in their own hands. But, looking towards the future, do they have the credentials to once again become a team capable of challenging for top English and European competitions?

Since his arrival, Kenny Dalglish has strived to bring the winning mentality back to Liverpool and, by winning a trophy in his first full season in charge, has done just that. It has relieved the pressure off the Liverpool players, and they will now genuinely consider the plausibility of winning every competition they enter. Winning a cup competition is sure to have a positive impact on the morale of a team, leading to improved performances and therefore results, which can prove pivotal for a team such as Liverpool, whose future is still undecided this season. It was important to win, by whatever means possible, as the price of defeat in a cup final is huge, evidently shown by Arsenal’s reaction last year to their last minute loss to Birmingham. Although the Gunners do have a tendency to react badly to upsets, the effects were horrific, even by Arsenal’s standards. Inconsistency, instability and inadequacy developed over the following months, and the anxiety, tension and pressure surrounding the lack of recent success at the club became apparent. This negative outlook of the club clearly affected the team off the pitch also, with key players like Fabregas and Nasri looking for that winning spark elsewhere, with Robin van Persie likely to follow suit if the club fail to end their drought sooner rather than later. Liverpool’s response to their cup win in their remaining fixtures this season may become crucial for their long-term ambitions; obviously securing Champions League football next season is the main objective, but even narrowly missing out will not be a disaster, providing they are still in the hunt come May. Finishing in a distant 6th or 7th position will be unacceptable however, and could severely damage Liverpool’s aims for the next few years.

The cup win is sure to inspire some confidence, but can only act as a catalyst for an upturn in performances, not a creator. Last year’s victorious Birmingham side emphasise this point effectively. The winning of silverware was always going to be the highlight of their season, and so they may have started to relax and become complacent that, no matter how catastrophic their performances proceeding the final, it would always be deemed a successful season. However, Liverpool, after spending over £100 million in the last 12 months, are starting to develop into a well-rounded team. Although there are clearly some players that have yet to merit their hefty transfer fee, the team do look a better outfit than a year or so ago, with strength in depth playing a key role. Towards the end of Benitez’s tenure at Liverpool, it was clear that the Reds relied solely on their top two men, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. Dalglish’s decision to sell Torres and replace him with two, relatively young strikers was a wise one, even though both forwards have struggled for goals since their moves. Since selling Torres, the team’s mentality has shifted away from a one (or two)-man team, towards a team playing for each other – a better team ethic to have. Similarly to Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, qualifying for the Champions League is desirable not only financially but also for the calibre of players they can then attract, but failure to finish within the top four in the EPL is unlikely to severely dent Liverpool’s long-term future, due to their philosophy of buying young, predominately British prospects. Although the very top British stars may evade Liverpool, such as Phil Jones, the inflated costs of the majority of these players deter other clubs from even thinking of a transfer, and so Dalglish faces little competition for these players.

Stability is needed for a club to progress, and the Liverpool owners appear to have brought this. John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group have not only provided funds for transfers, but clearly also have a strategy for where they want the club to go and the way they go about reaching this destination. Long-term progression appears to be the plan, opting to buy younger players more often than not despite the excessive prices, providing it ensures a positive team chemistry and good atmosphere around the club, as well as these players actually possessing the required quality for a club of Liverpool’s stature. When necessary, the owners have intervened in affairs, such as encouraging Suarez and Dalglish to apologize for their actions surrounding the racism case, but have generally trusted Dalglish to make his own decisions. They have understood how important the fans are at the football club, establishing that in order for the club to progress, the majority of fans must be onside; their decision to appoint Dalglish reflects this, and so far he has proved a worthy choice. He has all the capabilities to be Liverpool’s manager for the long haul, and this stability provided will help the club to build towards a brighter future. Actual efforts to convert proposals of a new stadium into reality eluded Hicks and Gillett, but the FSG have made it clear they don’t want to replicate the previous owners’ false promises about a new stadium. Financially, the new stadium is needed for Liverpool to once again become one of the powerhouses of not only English, but also European, football and so the sooner it is built, the better. The transition from Anfield to the new stadium will be tough for some fans, but it is crucial for the sustainment of Liverpool as a top Premier League club.

Liverpool will be equipped to challenge for Premier League titles in a few years time, but only if they continue to move forward in the right direction. Their failure to be clinical this season, mainly at home, has caused the club to be sitting in an unsatisfactory 7th place. Although it would be rash to think that the cup win will dramatically change Liverpool’s season, their remaining fixtures appear to be relatively easy in comparison to other clubs, and so cause for optimism is acceptable. Liverpool must show that they truly do deserve to be categorized with the top clubs of English football and that, in a few years time, they will be right up there with them, competing not only for England’s but also Europe’s greatest prizes.

46 thoughts on “Liverpool’s Carling Cup Silverware Will Be A Catalyst For Greater Glories”

  1. Uhh…Jack, don’t get too hyped up, m8. THIS IS ONLY THE CARLING CUP. They still need to win the EPL and make it to Europe with the former is unlikely unlike the latter cause they just won the Carling Cup to get them an easy Europa League spot.

  2. Liverpool won’t win the league any time soon. With 5 top teams to beat they have no chance with that squad. If it was a two team league like la liga or the SPL they might have a chance of winning but can anyone honestly see this team being more consistant than Utd, city, arsenal, chelsea and spurs over a 38 game season, the truth hurts but that’s life.

  3. Yea, it is only the carling cup and bla bla, but truth be told, every manager and fan would rather win it than not. It is still a trophy no matter how you look at it and teams and managers are judged by the trophies they’ve won. If Wenger had won it this year, am pretty sure he would have a lot less pressure on his shoulders right about now. But its gonna be 7 years and counting for Arsenal fans. So credit where its due, well done Liverpool. Even though the squad as it is still a long way from challenging on four fronts; Europe, Premier League, FA and Carling cup, winning a trophy and securing a spot in Europe is good progress and will only help the club in its bid to bring in better players, which they have to, coz the summer signings bar some have not delivered considering the price tags.

    1. I’d rather not win it! I’d rather not win it! I would rather see the reserve side in every single match all the way up until the final because its putting minutes on the legs of players who are already playing critical league and european matches.

      The only time I would want to see more than 2 of the first 11 on the field is if they were in the final, regardless of who they drew before then.

  4. Considering that Arsenal and Chelsea have had one of their worst seasons in recent memories, Liverpool are still 7th and with their game in hand would still remain there if they win that game. I’m not really sure how they finish in the CL places this year.

    Should Liverpool finish out of the top four again, how much more should Dalglish get to spend on players? His buying spree got them an excellent player in Suarez but they’re still not as good as the teams above them.

    Dalglish is an excellent motivator but can he break into the most competitive top 4 the Premier League has ever seen? Jury is still out.

  5. In some ways, Liverpool can’t win. If Liverpool had lost yesterday, opposition supporters would be saying “Ha, ha, Liverpool can’t even win the Carling Cup against Championship opposition.” But now that they won, rival supporters are saying that no one rates the Carling Cup anyway.

    In my opinion, it’s a competitive trophy that most Premier League clubs want to win. It’s not high in their priorities, but each club plays to win. Congratulations to Liverpool.

    Now the big question is whether they can use the Carling Cup as a springboard for the rest of the season.

    The Gaffer

    1. If the Carling Cup equals success or a “catalyst for greater glories” as the author states I would like to know where Birmingham sit on the Prem table? Oh…..that’s right.

      1. Birmingham winning the Carling Cup was one of their best achievements in recent memory. Plus they did quite well in the Europa League, and did far better than other people predicted. Winning the Carling Cup is no guarantee of success, but even though Birmingham City got relegated, they sit fifth in the Championship and have a good chance of coming back up to the Premier League.

        The Gaffer

    2. It’s not necessarily the fact they won it that causes those responses. It’s more about in the manner they won it.
      Barely beating a championship side? Doesn’t show the quality a club needs to be finishing in the top 4.
      Liverpool need more consistency.

      I’m not knocking down Liverpool’s success because I still wish Man City was there and won the Carling Cup.

      1. Cup finals are often close encounters. Barely beating Cardiff is nothing to be ashamed of. At this rate, Cardiff could get promoted to the Premier League next season.

        What about Manchester City only beating Birmingham 2-0 in the Carling Cup? Shouldn’t your club have beaten them more convincingly, if we’re to use your standards?

        The Gaffer

  6. Gaffer, you’re right – we’re damned either way. If we win it, it’s just the Carling Cup. If we don’t, we’re a joke.

    There are four trophies up for grabs each season. The Carling Cup, FA Cup, League Title, and Champion’s League / Europa League. At the end of the season, We all know where the Carling Cup falls in terms of prestige, but that doesn’t change the fact that Liverpool will be one of probably three teams with a trophy come end of season.

    I may be taking it a little personal here, but I don’t think anyone that scoffs at the Carling Cup knows what it’s like to support a club over a long period. A trophy is a trophy, and we can’t all support a title-contending club every year.

    1. The tears just started streaming out of my eyes and I had to close the door to my office for a few minutes and compose myself.

      1. Again, it’s very easy to take the Mickey when it’s not your club. We all know where this cup stands as far as prestige.

        But it’s one more trophy than whatever club you support has earned this season. Who do you support anyway?

        Even Manchester City has a good chance of getting kicked out of the Cup competitions and finishing second. No trophy, although I suppose they can feel pretty good about qualifying for the Champion’s League again.

        1. I had to comment on your original post because it was so melodramatic. The point of the article was that the Carling Cup was going to be the catalyst for greater glories and it’s not!

          I support Mainz 05 so don’t get me confused, I know pain and never reaching greater glory. Did I enjoy whenever they get promoted sure, but there is nothing I would consider a real success except for a few things – Bundesliga title being one of them.

          1. The Carling Cup will not act as a catalyst, but I’m still happy to get the trophy.

            I still hold that if you can scoff at a trophy (any trophy) you haven’t been through the ups and (mostly) downs of supporting a club. Call it melodramatic, but it’s a fact that I’m sure you understand.

            What about the German League Cup (DFB-Ligapokol or something)? Winning it wouldn’t mean you club would win the title – but it’d but nice, right? That wouldn’t make you a little happy? It wouldn’t be something you considered a small success for your club? You wouldn’t celebrate that?

          2. I believe we are in agreement then.

            We agree that the Carling Cup does not act as a catalyst as the article states. If I am to be honest, yes, I would be happy with some smaller cup wins. However I wouldn’t think we were destined for glory because of it.

  7. Ask Wenger if it’s “only the Carling Cup”!

    I’ll admit LFC did “barely” beat Cardiff, but we dominated most of the game and hit the post 3 times. We should have done better and won 2-1 in extra time at least. But it doesn’t matter now!!

  8. As much as I hate Liverpool and Steven gerrard it was good to hear him say in the pre match interview he’d rather have a carling cup winners medal than Finnish in 4th place and get champions league football.

      1. Sarcasm why? Gerrard said he plays to win medals which in today’s world of money hungry footballers is still good to hear. History books won’t show how many times he played in the CL but it will show that he captained liverpool in the cup final at wembely and picked up a winners medal.

        Now he also said what he wants and what the owners want are two totally different things, we all know what the owners would rather have but I give him credit for his honesty.

        1. He should have the desire to qualify for the CL and take home a European championship (far fetched). The ultimate goal should be to win medals with the best competition in Europe.

  9. Liverpool won against good teams to go to final. Unlike they just played championship sides throughout the competition and won the final.

  10. @ Fernando
    When I said they’ll be playing in Europe, I was referring to the Europa League, not the CL. They’ve automatically qualified by winning the cup so they will have 4 trophies to challenge for next season.

  11. I’m in no way decrying Liverpool’s success, they enjoyed it, and I liked the way SOME of the players spent time with the Cardiff players (I also liked Gerrard saying afterwards that family comes before Liverpool), but to claim it as a catalyst to future success is just random, there is no evidence of that as Birmingham proved. It did not enhance the rest of their season at all. Outside of the “already big teams” that have won it recently only Spurs could really claim it as a precursor to bigger success. Birmingham=Relegated, Middlesbrough=Relegated, Blackburn=Relegated, Liverpool 2003=Any Championships ?

    Ultimately the League Cup doesn’t really tell us anything about the future and teams desperate for a trophy like Birmingham and Liverpool :) should just enjoy it.

    1. Jose Mourinho’s first trophy for Chelsea was the Carling Cup which he won in 2005. By no means was that a guarantee of future success, but it certainly infused Chelsea with a lot of confidence to go on and achieve bigger and better things. There’s no guarantee Liverpool will do anywhere near the same, but we’ll see first hand whether the win has any impact on their confidence and the way they play when they face Arsenal this Saturday.

      The Gaffer

      1. That’s the exception. There’s more evidence to suggest winning the League Cup = relegation a couple of seasons later :) Add Leicester City to the list HA !

  12. Liverpool got there by beating Stoke away (The infamous cold windy Wednesday – or was it Tuesday), Chelsea away and City over two legs. Say what you want that is a tough road. Yes the final was far from vintage, but Liverpool have a history of not performing in finals only to end up winning anyway. That is ingrained in their history. It is a large part of why Liverpool have won more trophys than any other club, they win far more of those cup final games than they lose.
    Does it on its own make difference in the league? Of course not, but now Liverpool have a bunch of young players who know what it is like to get to a final through tough games. They know what it means to come from behind in a final. They know what it means to keep going to the death, and they know how fantastic it feels to be a winner at Wembley.
    That is something that can be built on.

    1. I agree Dominjon. I think the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of Liverpool haters out there, so it’s a bitter pill for many of them to swallow. Liverpool deserved to win, and it’s hopefully a sign of things to come. It’d be great to have Liverpool fighting for the other trophies too to break up the Manchester United-Chelsea dynasty of recent years.

      The Gaffer

    2. just to point out, liverpool beat chelsea at anfield. that was also the game they decided to play all of their regulars, and lost lucas for the year. congrats to liverpool and their fans for winning a trophy, but did winning it perhaps hurt their chances to qualify for champions league this year? lucas was probably one of the most important players that liverpool needed to keep healthy all season. they seem to lack a quality holding midfielder at the moment

      1. They beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the cup. Liverpool did not get a home game in the league cup until the 2nd leg of the semi.

  13. Perhaps they should sell the cup and get some of the money back they hilariously spent on Carroll. I for one thought he might have a decent game against opposition that seemed about his level. But he couldn’t even do that and they came within one penalty of losing after having overwhelming posession. They need some decent forwards to help Suarez otherwise he may start looking for a move to Italy or Spain where nobody cares what he says.

    Come to think about about, ask Chelsea for a swap – Torres for Carroll

  14. This is why Liverpool tough to root for, from a neutral’s position. It’s not just enough to have won silverware, Liverpool fans have to tell you how the club is poised for more wins. Why bother even playing the rest of the tournaments? Just give the hardware to the “entitled ones” again. 😉

    The Gaffer is right, liverpool is in a bit of a can’t win scenario in terms of winning the league cup. The deserve credit for having won the cup. No doubt. But the rest of it I can do without. You were in the top position at one point and we all had to hear about it. Now you’re not, please take it with a minor dose of humility.

    (side note: Dallas Cowboy fans are the same way. It’s no less obnoxious when they do it).

    1. EVERY owner, manager, and captain would say the same thing….”we want to build on this success and reach even bigger goals!”

      Are you saying Wenger, AvB, or Redknapp wouldn’t take the CC and say we still want the CL , etc?!

  15. This article is laughable. Really?
    Liverpool are terrible now, with terrible players who cost more than most of the everton team. And just because they won a cup you think they are going to kick off and dominate the premier league… I really hate authors who write such ignorant articles just to get lots of views. You make me sick.

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