I don't go in much for fate, serendipity, or general sentiments of the "it was meant to be" variety, and yet time and time again seemingly innocuous things like a third round cup tie in the lesser of the domestic cups try to prove me wrong. Fine, fate, here we are again: a draw against Manchester United, away at Old Trafford.
If one were inclined to be optimistic — and certainly around here lately, this is not necessarily the case for all parties — one could resign oneself to the fact that Liverpool were bound to meet United or a team of United's calibre at some point during the competition if they progress far enough. It's all a matter of whether you prefer to knock out your arch rivals in an early round and have an easier time of it when it comes down to the wire, or whether you prefer to meet them in a mouth-watering two-leg semi-final on the way to Wembley. Each has its own benefits, depending on where your sense of romanticism lies.
Of course, if one were inclined to be pessimistic, one's natural reaction might be "Ugh, not again." It feels as though the club are perpetually meeting their Mancunian foes in cup ties, but perception is far from reality in this particular competition. Liverpool have in fact only met United in the League Cup on four previous occasions — twice in cup finals — with Liverpool emerging victorious in three of the four matches.
And, finally, if one were inclined to feel moderately theatrical, one might notice that the visit to Old Trafford on September 23 comes just after Luis Suarez has finished serving his ten match ban for Serbian snacking and is available again for selection in domestic matches. Should the Uruguayan still be a Liverpool player after September 2, there should be no shortage of predictable, drama-mongering op-eds about Suarez and his previous misdeeds given his coming off suspension just in time to meet the club that figured in his previous suspension.
So, Manchester United. This is the draw the club earned through its costly win on Tuesday. Sunday's league match against the Red Devils at Anfield will be a taste of what's to come three weeks later, and will hopefully give the club some much needed preparation towards overcoming a fairly large obstacle on their way to silverware.