Given Liverpool’s involvement in the 2023/24 Europa League, they received a bye through to the Third Round of the League Cup (also known as the EFL Cup or Carabao Cup). They received a decent draw too, being pulled out of the hat first, thus playing at home, against Championship side Leicester City. There were several all-Premier League ties drawn and so at least five top-flight sides will join already-eliminated Sheffield United on the sidelines after the next round.
That gives Liverpool a decent chance of a good run in the EFL Cup and given they didn’t win any silverware last term (Community Shield aside) they will be keen to do well. The Reds last won this competition in 2021/22, when they completed a domestic cup double. But how many times have they lifted the EFL Cup in total?
Liverpool Are Record Winners of the EFL Cup
For many years Liverpool were by far the number-one team in English football and perhaps even the world. Though Real Madrid may have had something to say about their global claims. Whilst Manchester United currently have a narrow lead over Liverpool in terms of top-flight league titles, when it comes to the League Cup, it is the Merseyside team who are out in front.
The mighty Reds have won this competition an impressive nine times, which is good going given it was only founded in 1961. Indeed, they didn’t make their first final until 1978, losing to Nottingham Forest in a replay. As the table below shows, however, they wouldn’t have to wait too long for their first triumph.
Liverpool’s League Cup Final Appearances
|1978||Nottingham Forest||Lost||1-0 in replay (after 0-0 draw)|
|1981||West Ham United||Won||2-1 in replay (after 1-1 draw)|
|1982||Spurs||Won||3-1 after extra time|
|1983||Man United||Won||2-1 after extra time|
|1984||Everton||Won||1-0 in replay (after 0-0 draw)|
|2001||Birmingham City||Won||5-4 on penalties (after 1-1 draw)|
|2005||Chelsea||Lost||3-2 after extra time|
|2012||Cardiff City||Won||3-2 on penalties (after 2-2 draw)|
|2016||Man City||Lost||3-1 on penalties (after 1-1 draw)|
|2022||Chelsea||Won||11-10 on penalties (after 0-0 draw)|
But Reds Record May Not Last Long
Whilst Liverpool are currently the most successful side in the history of the EFL Cup, there is certainly a very real chance that they could be matched, and then even eclipsed, before too long. Whilst they are three ahead of great rivals Man United, who won the last of their League Cups in 2023, Man City are closing in after a stunning run in recent years.
City made three EFL Cup finals in the 1970s, winning in 1970 and 1976. However, they did not appear in another final until 2014. But their win that year, plus further wins in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, has moved them to a total of eight, just one behind the Reds. The League Cup was the only competition Pep Guardiola’s men failed to win in the 2022/23 season but it seems likely they will add a ninth title before too long. Can the Reds get to 10 first though?
Liverpool’s Four League Cups in a Row
When City won this competition in 2021, beating Spurs 1-0, it was their fourth success in a row. That was an incredible feat but one Liverpool had achieved many years earlier. As shown in the table above, Liverpool lifted the EFL Cup in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. That was a real golden era for the club too, as incredibly they only finished outside the top two in the league once between 1973 and 1991!
Their League Cup quadruple fell in the middle of that period and began in 1980/81, ironically the one season when they stuttered in the league, finishing fifth. However, they still won the European Cup and Charity Shield (as the Community Shield was then known) to keep the League Cup company!
Each of their next three triumphs was also accompanied by the league title, with the fourth of their winning sequence also being landed alongside the European Cup. That 1983/84 campaign was arguably the finest in the club’s long and storied history, with Liverpool completing a treble of their own. In fact, that season was a quadruple for the city as the only silverware the Reds missed out on was won by their cross-city rivals the Blues!
Looking at the table of the club’s appearances in EFL finals, outsiders may consider the Reds a little lucky to have landed this trophy nine times. We prefer to say they just never like to do things the easy way!
Of their nine amazing triumphs, only two came with straightforward wins inside 90 minutes. Of the other seven, twice replays were needed, twice the Reds won in extra time, and on three occasions fans had to endure the almost unbearable tension of penalties.
2022 Final Not One for the Nervous
Of all the club’s many great triumphs, few can have been as nerve-shredding as their most recent success in the EFL Cup. The game itself was certainly not a classic, though in truth was much better than the 0-0 scoreline might have suggested. Opponents Chelsea had three goals disallowed for offside, whilst Mason Mount also fluffed two great chances, hinting at the tension that would come for Liverpool supporters.
The Reds themselves had chances too but found Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy in inspired form. Indeed, this final was all about the keeper, and the Kepa. For the Reds, stopper Caoimhin Kelleher was a hero, the Irishman retaining his League Cup place ahead of the club’s number one Alisson.
Kelleher not only made a vital save in the shootout, he then took the next penalty and scored. However, in truth, this final was more about what happened with Chelsea’s goalie … or rather goalies. Despite Mendy’s brilliance during the game, Blues boss, Thomas Tuchel, decided to replace him with supposed penalty expert Kepa Arrizabalaga. The sub was made in the 120th minute, Kepa coming on for one thing, and one thing only.
However, in an epic shootout that saw the first 20 penalties scored, it came down to the goalkeepers. Kepa, who had failed to save any of the 10 spot kicks he faced (despite the prowess he was allegedly brought on for), was beaten by his oppositive number. He then had to score to keep his side in the game but could only blaze the ball over the bar. A terrible moment for Kepa and Tuchel but a great one for Klopp, Kelleher and Liverpool, as the Reds became the most successful side in EFL Cup history!