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Carabao Cup

“My second-ever game was the League Cup Final”: Ian Rush reflects on his footballing education

24 June 2022

Liverpool legend Ian Rush was nothing short of thrown in at the deep end when he first arrived in Merseyside.

Rush, who still holds the record as the League Cup’s all-time leading goal-scorer, won the competition five times with the Reds, including four times on the bounce between 1981 and 1984.

After making his Liverpool debut away to Ipswich Town in the First Division, the Welshman’s next involvement would be in that 1981 League Cup Final replay, when he would be named in the starting line-up at Villa Park.

The Reds edged West Ham United 2-1 after drawing 1-1 at Wembley, forcing a do-over in the West Midlands.

“I played two games and had a winner’s medal," Rush recalled.

He Added: "We won it four times running and that’s how much we wanted to win it.

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“We wanted to win that, we wanted to win the European Cup and the FA Cup; we wanted to win everything.”

The 60-year-old, who was in attendance at the Carabao Cup Final in February when Liverpool claimed a ninth title, has 48 goals to his name in the competition.

Most notably, Rush found the back of the net at the National Stadium in the 1982 showpiece in extra time, as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1. However, it was his most recent triumph that sticks in the memory.

“For me, in 1995 when we beat Bolton, that was something special for me,” he explained. “We had a young team with a young [Robbie] Fowler, [Steve] McManaman and [Jamie] Redknapp, but I was captain, and it was my first trophy I won as a captain. Some people never get the chance to play at Wembley.”

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Despite hanging up his boots more than 20 years ago, Rush’s record still stands, and the Carabao Cup is a competition he’s firmly invested in.

“To be the record goal-scorer for this Cup, along with Sir Geoff Hurst, is something special,” he continued. “Records are there to be broken but I’m proud that I’ve still got this one so far.

“You want to score at Anfield but at Wembley, it’s something special and something I’ll never forget. When you finish playing football, you look back and say: ‘I was a good player.’ That’s what the stats tell you.”


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