The Carling Cup : WHO CARES!?

David JacobsCorrespondent INovember 13, 2008

Now that I have your attention...

Spurs triumphed over Liverpool for the second time in a row at White Hart Lane thanks to Harry Redknapp's instilling belief and confidence in all players involved.

A convincing 4-2 victory made sure Spurs gripped firmly onto their cup and sent them into the Quarter finals. Only three matches separate them from second final.

Spurs dominated the first half with ease. It was almost like watching last week’s Liverpool and Spurs sides swap kits. Campbell and Pavlyuchenko playing upfront were an unexpected force to be reckoned with. Two goals each after full time and Liverpool were none the wiser.

But in the second half, Spurs laid back a bit in the defence department. Gomes got nervous about corners again, costing cheap goals from two of them. I still don’t think Gomes fully trusts his defence. Otherwise he wouldn’t go and jump after every ball.

There needs to be more communication and less paranoia if the goalkeeper-defence partnership is going to work at Spurs.

Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia headed one of the goals in for the reds. He was one of the oldest on the squad. I shall come to that in a moment.

What I’m asking, rhetorically of course, is who truly cares about the Carling Cup? Which teams even want to be entered?

Let’s find out, shall we?

The Carling Cup, formerly known as the League Cup has been won by Liverpool SEVEN TIMES over the years compared to Spurs who have only won it four times.

So why put out a lesser team for something they’ve won seven times and is in a knockout format!?

(This is why I love football so much. It keeps you guessing and talking senselessly for hours on end.)

Did Rafa want to rest his better players for the Premier League?

My answer—Yes and no. Gerrard, Reina and Carragher are some of the many key players in the squad who were relieved of duty for that match.

Torres is meant to be their goal machine, but he should have rested the entire game if he had just come back from an injury. I’m afraid that doesn’t add up.

Is it because Rafa genuinely doesn’t care about the Carling Cup and wants to concentrate on the Premiership, F.A. Cup and the Champions’ League?

This is where I will also include my opinion on teams not caring much for the Carling Cup;

Benitez has been Liverpool’s manager since 2004.
Under his guidance, they have won the UEFA Super Cup (2005), the F.A. Cup (2006) and
the UEFA Champions’ League ((2005); runners-up in 2007).

So he’d obviously expect to concentrate on those ‘major’ trophies. So much in fact that even his wife has considered leaving him because she wants him to concentrate on HER trophies a bit more. ;)

I’m sure that any Premiership team’s fans would target either the Champions League or the F.A. Cup as the cup to win. But ask them about the Carling Cup and you get a mixed response with no second glances.

Benitez, like all managers, aims high, so automatically, the Carling Cup becomes obsolete to him as it is not considered a big or even a serious competition.
It is mocked by football fans everywhere (even some Spurs fans to be fair).
Names such as ‘Comedy Cup’ or ‘Mickey Mouse Cup’ spring to mind.

How well have the big four done in the cup these last two years?


Chelsea lost (on penalties) at home when they faced Burnley last night. It gets confusing here because I have no idea about what Chelsea’s team sheet looked like. Also, Chelsea got into the final against Spurs at Wembley and played a full strength team. Chelsea played to the standard I expected from them that February.


Arsenal last drew 1-1 at home with Spurs in the first leg of the semi-final, but then
fell apart losing 5-1 at White Hart Lane. I don’t know why Arsenal fans were claiming that

Arsene Wenger had only played ‘kids’ for those matches and generally didn’t care for this ‘minor’ cup.

I have reason to believe that Adebayor hardly looks like a teenager and Sagna, Toure and Denilson aren’t that young either.

This year though, the ‘kids’ came out to play against Wigan and creamed them 3-0. They may care, most of the fans do not (even if the stadium was nearly full). I don’t know about Wenger’s desire for the Carling Cup, but his ambitions might give a clue.


Whilst in the lengthy Ferguson era (still going strong by the way), Man.U have won the League Cup twice. Once in 1992 and another occasion in 2006. No real indication of care-levels for the Carling Cup though


As I said, Liverpool have previously won the Carling Cup seven times. A record which will remain unbeaten for a long time.

But Benitez thinks of it as lower-priority. This reason is mostly covered by the alibi of
‘The League Cup is a good chance for young players to gain big match experience.’.

Last night, Rafa Benitez put out a ‘second-rate’ team. Their squad line-up contained some young reserve players with only a few of his more experienced players
scattered in there (Torres, Babel and Hyypia for example).

Torres was playing to only 60 percent of what he can really do, but it was understandable considering he had just recovered from an injury.

My opinion is that a trophy is a trophy, no matter what the name of it is. I agree that sponsorships don’t make it sound important or glorious,
but it was called "The League Cup" first and foremost.

Also, just like the sports team you support, you should look at a trophy’s history. You might just appreciate it a little more next time your club’s name gets called out in a draw at noon.


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