When the Carling Cup Does Matter

Liverpool fans were happy about winning their “Mickey Mouse” trophy, despite the ultimate goal of everyone involved with the club being a much higher one. Because no trophy landed at Anfield since 2006, because this is the best they’ll probably get this season (maybe the FA Cup), and because Cardiff made it much more difficult than it should have been.

Who needs the Carling Cup? Not Manchester United, or any team that sees themselves as Champions League material. The rest, including the FA Cup at times, is beneath them. Second and third stringers get to play, and an exit, even early on, is nothing to be upset about. Less matches off a tight schedule.

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Personally, I’m not a big fan of the third local competition, or the second cup. Besides giving small teams a small chance of making European competition, I just don’t see the benefit. Fans aren’t all that enthusiastic about it most of the times, knowing how the players and clubs feel about it as well.

But for Cardiff, a championship side that tends to fail again and again in their playoff matches when trying to make the Premier League? For teams battling against relegation? A wonderful bonus, and actually something to dream of. Liverpool shouldn’t be in that category, but they are, or were until yesterday at Wembley, winning their 8th League Cup in 11 visits to the final.

Important to create a winning culture, some say. It was more luck like a lucky culture, but it went the Reds’ way, and they couldn’t complain when it all ended. Kenny Dalglish can’t be happy with his players’ performance, most of them at least, but he brought his owners their first trophy after spilling quite a lot of cash on players who haven’t really been delivering the goods so far. He can even tell John Herny this is an important competition.