Liverpool have a rich history in the League Cup, winning the competition a record eight times. We take a look at the last five semi-finals.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side head to the Britannia Stadium for their first-leg clash against Stoke City, with a first trophy in four years almost within touching distance.
All is not well with Liverpool currently though following their limp 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Saturday, and Mark Hughes’ team will cause the Reds real problems.
It promises to be a fascinating two legs, and if Liverpool do progress to the final at Wembley next month, Man City or Everton will be their opponents.
Here is how the Reds have fared in their last five League Cup semi-finals.
2015 – Liverpool vs. Chelsea (Chelsea won 2-1 on aggregate)
The odds were stacked against Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side when they were pitted against a formidable Chelsea side last year, but they did themselves proud over the two legs.
Eden Hazard’s 18th-minute penalty gave the visitors the lead at Anfield, following Emre Can‘s reckless challenge on the Belgian, and the Reds had it all to do.
A sublime solo effort from Raheem Sterling got the hosts level in the second-half, and from that point on, it was all Liverpool. Steven Gerrard hit the post, but in the end, Rodgers’ men had to settle for a draw.
A tight game in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge was decided by Branislav Ivanovic’s extra-time header, as Liverpool agonisingly exited the competition.
2012 – Liverpool vs. Man City (Liverpool won 3-2 on aggregate)
Liverpool were drawn against similarly daunting opposition back in 2012, but this time it would be the Merseysiders who reached the final.
The first-leg at the Etihad was decided by a Gerrard penalty, in a game that the Reds impressed greatly in. A thrilling return leg at Anfield followed.
Nigel de Jong gave Roberto Mancini’s side a first-half lead, but another Gerrard spot-kick put Liverpool 2-1 up on aggregate at half-time.
Edin Dzeko looked as though he may have broken Reds hearts midway through the second-half – City were progressing on away goals as it stood – but Craig Bellamy’s clinical finish against his former club sent Liverpool to Wembley.
Kenny Dalglish‘s side triumphed in the final against Cardiff City, eventually winning on penalties.
2005 – Liverpool vs. Watford (Liverpool won 2-0 on aggregate)
Gerrard had matured into one of the most inspirational midfielders in world football by the time 2005 rolled around, and his importance to Liverpool could not be underestimated.
It was the legendary Reds skipper who was the difference against Watford 11 years ago, as Rafa Benitez and his team made it through to the final.
Gerrard’s well-taken solo effort at Vicarage Road was the only goal in the first-leg, and the then 24-year-old also scored the game’s only goal at Anfield too.
It was a comfortable semi-final victory for Liverpool, who lost 3-2 after extra-time to rivals Chelsea in the final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
2003 – Liverpool vs. Sheffield United (Liverpool won 3-2 on aggregate)
Although everything pointed towards Liverpool progressing to the final back in 2003, having been drawn against First Division team Sheffield United, it was clear that the Blades were not to be taken lightly.
Neil Warnock’s side had gained a reputation for being a strong cup side, and in the first-leg at Bramall Lane, they showed exactly why Liverpool were right to be wary of them.
Neil Mellor gave the Reds the lead before half-time, but a second-half double from talented midfielder Michael Tonge gave United a lead ahead of the second-leg at Anfield.
An early El Hadji Diouf effort proved to be the only goal in the 90 minutes on Merseyside, with extra-time called for. Michael Owen’s goal after 107 minutes sent the Reds through.
Liverpool beat bitter rivals Man United 2-0 in the final, with goals from Gerrard and Owen ensuring the Reds won their seventh League Cup at the time.
2001 – Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (Liverpool won 6-2 on aggregate)
First Division side Crystal Palace were Liverpool’s semi-final opponents back in 2001, and the Reds didn’t have it all their own way.
Andreas Rubins and Clinton Morrison gave Palace a shock 2-0 lead at Selhurst Park, and although Vladimir Smicer puled a goal back, they were still behind going into the second-leg.
Gerard Houllier’s side produced a magnificent performance at Anfield, however, and they blew away the Eagles on Merseyside.
Goals from Smicer, Danny Murphy and Igor Biscan saw Liverpool 3-0 up after just 18 minutes, and second-half strikes from Murphy and Robbie Fowler completed the scoring.
Liverpool overcame Birmingham City on penalties in the final in Cardiff, as Houllier’s men secured the first of what was to be an unprecedented cup treble in 2000/01.
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