Liverpool have not won a domestic cup since 2012 and Jurgen Klopp has often been made to rue rotation in these competitions, but he is well-positioned to make amends this season
Liverpool have been crowned champions of England, Europe and the world during Jurgen Klopp’s tenure.
Admittedly, the Reds went about this in an illogical order, winning the Champions League in 2019 and Club World Cup later that year before finally ending their wait for a Premier League title in the summer of 2020 after a Covid-enforced break.
These successes saw Klopp named Best FIFA Men’s Coach in back-to-back years and he is widely considered one of the greatest managers active today.
His CV during six years in the Anfield hot seat is sublime – but there is something missing.
Klopp has failed to win a domestic cup since his appointment despite Liverpool’s historical strength in the FA Cup and League Cup.
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The closest the German has come to lifting either honour was back in his first season in charge, when he led his side to the League Cup final in February 2016.
They were beaten in a penalty shootout by Manchester City that day at Wembley, and they have not contested a domestic cup final since.
In fact, Liverpool have failed to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup – now known as the Carabao Cup – in any of the last four seasons, which is staggering given their might in the Champions League and Premier League those campaigns.
Their record in the FA Cup makes for equally-bleak reading, with Klopp leading his side to the fifth round just once in six bites of the cherry.
There is, of course, a simple explanation for Liverpool’s underperformance in the domestic cups under Klopp; the 54-year-old is a vocal critic of the hectic fixture schedule and has shamelessly used such fixtures to rotate his starting XI and hand regulars a much-needed breather.
You need only look at Liverpool’s line-up for the trip to Norwich City in this season’s Carabao Cup third round to see this policy in action.
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This rotation has spelled the end of many a domestic cup run in recent seasons, but there are signs that could change this time round.
The Reds had little trouble progressing past the Canaries as fringe players came to the fore, showing Klopp finally has a squad with the strength and depth to get away with making changes en masse.
He has four high-quality options at centre-half, an impressive back-up goalkeeper in Caoimhin Kelleher and the likes of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino waiting for opportunities in attack.
The forward duo scored Liverpool’s three goals between them at Carrow Road and will hope for more involvement in the Carabao Cup during Wednesday’s trip to Preston North End.
The only area the Reds may find themselves wanting at Deepdale is in midfield, where the likes of Thiago, Naby Keita and Fabinho have been struggling with injuries.
But such is the quality of this Liverpool squad they will be confident of progressing past the Championship’s 19th-placed club to reach the last eight, putting Klopp three victories away from his first domestic cup as Reds boss.