One of the first things Jürgen Klopp learned when he arrived in England was that people didn’t seem to care about the League Cup—aka the Carabao Cup formerly known as the Capital One Cup formerly known as the Worthington’s Cup formerly as the Milk Cup.
For Klopp, though, there’s no such thing as a competition that can be overlooked. If you’re in it, and if it’s an honest to goodness trophy on the line and not a pre-season joke like the Premier League Asia Trophy or International Champions Cup, it’s worth winning it.
“When you first come to a new country there are a lot of things you maybe have no clue about,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s cup tie against Chelsea. “One of them is how people judge cup competitions before you play them.”
“When I came in I think my first was playing Bournemouth—and everybody told me that you play the kids or whatever. You have a competitive game and you play the kids? It’s nice to play kids but you cannot use all of them—I was never interested in that, to be honest.”
There will be changes to Liverpool’s starting eleven today, certainly—rotation is necessary and even if you’re taking the League Cup seriously, the priority has to be on the Premier League and Champions League, particularly with how Liverpool have started the season.
But Klopp isn’t writing off the League Cup. And he has a strong enough, deep enough squad now that even with changes with an eye to the coming games against Napoli and Manchester City and Chelsea again in the league he can send out a very serious side.
“We make decisions because of the situation and not the competition,” he added. “It’s not about judging the silverware. You cannot do it like that. We have to be always 100% in our concentration, rhythm, focus—only be there and don’t think about where it leads.
“If I see one player tomorrow have the feeling it’s ‘only the League Cup’ then he will have a problem, but I know there will be no player. It’s a football game in a sold-out Anfield, so we will be there with all we have. That’s all we are thinking about.”