The League Cup Final in 2001 will always be a special one for Liverpool supporters, as it proved to be the first of three cup triumphs for Gerard Houllier's side on the season. League silverware proved to be too big an ask as Manchester United would go on to win their third consecutive title, ten points ahead of second place Arsenal and eleven in front of Liverpool, but each cup competition provided something special for Liverpool, and the League Cup was no different.
The first cup final held in Cardiff's Millenium Stadium provided a bit of nostalgia---Liverpool had last been involved in a penalty shootout six years prior to the 2001 League Cup Final, when they ended extra time 1-1 with Birmingham in an FA Cup Third Round replay and went on to win the shootout 2-0, with Jamie Redknapp and Stig Inge Bjornebye converting as the visitors missed each of their four spot kicks. Birmingham's progression had stalled since that season, with a string of narrowly missed opportunities to earn promotion to the top flight following their Second Division title.
And this Worthington Cup Final would be another near-miss for the West Midlands side, who drew level in the final minute on a Darren Purse penalty after Martin O'Connor drew a foul in the box from Stephane Henchoz, canceling out Robbie Fowler's first half opener. They had another shout for a penalty in extra time, with Henchoz again the culprit, but the match would move to penalties after 120 minutes expired with the clubs level at one apiece. Both sides missed one in their first five, and in the end the difference proved to be Jamie Carragher's well-taken effort into the top corner as Sander Westerveld saved 20 year-old Andy Johnson's subsequent spot kick.