After a 1-0 victory over Bristol City sent Leicester City top of the second tier table, the Foxes head for Anfield this Wednesday for a daunting third round League Cup tie against Liverpool. Even though the Reds are likely to play a weakened team for the game, it will still be a stern test for Enzo Maresca’s league leaders. Indeed, the King Power outfit haven’t won at Anfield since 2002 and, more recently, were beaten on penalties by the Merseyside club in the quarter final of the League Cup in the 2021-22 season.
It is not clear how seriously Maresca will regard the match, the Championship representing a much more important competition for his club. There may well be major changes to the Leicester XI with possible contributions from players – such as Patson Daka, Conor Coady and Marc Albrighton – who have not featured much, if at all, so far this season.
Nevertheless, it would be a shame if Leicester do not go all out to win the game and mount a concerted cup run. This is partly because a good run in either cup competition will help to maintain a feel-good mentality at the club. Conversely, a heavy defeat might knock the team’s confidence. The extra revenue generated by further progress in the competition shouldn’t be sneezed at either. Above all, the League Cup has, over the years, been the main oasis of major success for the Foxes in a largely barren landscape of mediocrity.
The League Cup (variously known, by its sponsor’s name, as the Milk, Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington, Carling, Capital One and, currently, Carabao Cup) came into being, as a mid-week competition, in the 1960-61 season. Known – since 2017 – as the EFL CUP, it is a competition only open to Football League clubs (the 92 in the top four leagues). Most clubs by the early 1960s had installed floodlights and the League Cup was a means to make money out of the new-found ability to host matches in the evening.