Former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole has been reflecting on the Blues’ 2005 League Cup Final triumph over the Reds at the EFL’s official Road to Wembley event.
The 40-year-old was a part of José Mourinho’s Chelsea side that came from behind to defeat Liverpool in the silverware showdown at the then Millennium Stadium in Wales.
And the victory marked a significant milestone for Cole, who made the switch to Merseyside from West London in the summer of 2010.
“It was my first bit of silverware that I won,” he acknowledged. “It was a really great atmosphere. I remember we dominated possession and Liverpool dropped off. I think that’s flipped from what we’ll see in this Final. We were the better side, but they got the early goal – John Arne Riise scored a belter. The Chelsea fans were in good voice and the Liverpool fans were brilliant.
“From my perspective, when we won the trophy, it gave us that ‘this is what it’s all about’. It’s a real feeling of, ‘we can do this now’.”
The two great rivals will lock horns once again on Sunday under the arch, with Liverpool looking to set a new record for a ninth League Cup triumph, whilst Chelsea – who recently completed their trophy cabinet with the Club World Cup – will be looking to add to their five successes in this competition.
“It will be two heavyweights – Chelsea as world champions and Liverpool are a fantastic team, one of the most exciting teams we’ve seen in recent years,” he added. “It’s going to be a great game with lots of attacking players. I think it might be cagey for the first 60 minutes but once the first goal goes in, I think it’ll explode into life. They’re two great Clubs and two great teams.”
The former England international believes this year’s showdown is a difficult one to call - especiallt after their two draws this season in the Premier League
“I’ve wracked my brains all week and I think it will be one of them that’s decided on penalties – I think it will go all the way,” he explained. “I think it will come down to moments.
“Liverpool are the in-form team; they’ve been outstanding in the last few games and they look unbeatable because they’re in that rich vein of form. Liverpool’s forward line is in so much form.
“Thomas Tuchel hasn’t lost a knock-out game in so many years and he’s won everything he’s been in. Tuchel and Chelsea can be pragmatic; they can sit off, they can soak up pressure and then catch them on the break. Also, there’s a number of good players in Chelsea’s team that when the time is right, they can handle Liverpool.
“Both sets of players have been European champions and they have multiple trophies, so they’re well adept to winning.”
And for the first time in two years, the Carabao Cup Final will be at full capacity; a welcome sight for Cole.
“That’s the beautiful thing, seeing fans back in the stadium, you can’t ever take that for granted,” he added. “It’s amazing.
“It’s a great one to watch. You get to see fresh young talent coming through, the games are exciting and there’s a lot of passion. I’m a big fan of it. I won it during my career and it’s one of my favourite memories.”