Reliving the day in which Liverpool’s young heroes rose to the occasion to win the League Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley…



I was doing A-Levels at a college that no longer exists while living at home.

It was my birthday that month and I spent it in a club called Hollywoods somewhere near, I think, Wood Street. That too has long been gathered unto God. I remember I wore a particularly high waisted pair of kecks that night.

That’s what I remember most from the month I turned 19.

Bobby Clark turned 19 a few weeks ago. February 6. He’s just won the League Cup with Liverpool.

Alright, it’s an unfair comparison. Bobby’s dad Lee played top-level football for Newcastle, Sunderland and Birmingham City so maybe he was always going to be a footballer.

My dad played pool in some dubious establishments around Scottie and Tithebarn Street so may I wasn’t, but the fact remains that, on Sunday, 19-year-old Bobby Clark walked onto the Wembley turf and stood against a midfield duo which cost over £220m. He left it with a winner’s medal.

Last season, Bobby Clark, Conor Bradley, James McConnell and Jayden Danns could have only dreamt of playing at Wembley. Now they’ve defined a final.

It’s weird how Jarell Quansah sort of doesn’t feel part of that group because he’s been playing since August. Jayden Danns is so new that’s he’s played more first-team football at Wembley than Anfield.

It’s obviously a huge credit to their ability, courage and attitude, but the same has to be said of their manager. True, the team selection was forced on him, but the absolute stones to take one kid off and replace him with another in a cup final. Talk about backing yourself.

It shows the power of faith. When arguably the greatest manager in the game looks at you and says, ‘I trust you to play in a cup final for Liverpool Football Club,’ it must be so heartening. Presumably, he would have had no qualms about taking a penalty had it been needed.

Mauricio Pocchetino later admitted that he was hanging on for penalties as he fancied their chances. Seriously, he brought on a lad who cost £89m to take a pen. We trusted all of our lads. Every single one of them.

It highlights the difference between scattergun spending and selective buying. Chelsea can be a good team and their manager is a special talent, but they play without drive or purpose.

Moises Caicedo should be their new Kante. He was absolutely awful, exposed by Endo, Macca and Bobby throughout. The money isn’t always enough. Even age and experience isn’t anymore.

And this is before we mention Conor Bradley. Not only has he brilliantly replaced one of the world’s greatest players, he’s started a final, gone into midfield, gone even further up and hit the post. He’s 20! 20!

I wonder how many people thought about that League Cup game against Spurs under Rafa in 2005. The night the La Bamba song was truly born. Liverpool played the kids that night too, against seasoned professionals such as Ledley King, Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane and won on penalties.

There’s something special about seeing the young lads come through so forcefully. Curtis Jones’ derby winner etc.

So many players go through their entire careers without winning a thing. Jayden Danns is yet to complete a half of first-team football and he’s won more trophies than Harry Kane. That’s absolutely mad.

They may not all make it or at least make it at this club, but they’ll always have that. This was their final. As memorable as the captain who put the medal in their hands.

God knows what happens on Wednesday. Lucho could barely move come the end and Endo left Wembley on crutches. Maybe Bobby, James, Jarell, Jayden and Conor have younger brothers who could slot in.

I love winning trophies. They justify seasons, but this one feels slightly different. Better somehow. The future won it. The process.

La Decima. There was a time when we got slagged off for not winning it. Now we have 10.

One down, three to go. Celebrate it then fight the next battle. There’s always a next battle.

I love winning trophies.



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