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Category: Capital One Cup

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The psychology of the penalty shootout: why movement is key and hesitation can be fatal | Paul Wilson

Manchester City’s Willy Caballero enjoyed his finest hour at Wembley by changing his method during the shootout after conceding Emre Can’s Panenka opener to unnerve the remaining Liverpool penalty-takers

Liverpool and Manchester City will know each other very well when they meet for the second time in a week just days after the Capital One Cup final, though at Anfield there will be no penalty shootout and no Willy Caballero.

Looking back on Sunday’s showpiece, as they say in all the best customer satisfaction surveys, which of the following statements best sums up the Wembley experience?

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Memory Lane: Football League Cup finals — in pictures

Inspired by Manchester City’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Liverpool, we’ve had a rummage through the archives to check out some of yesteryear’s previous finals

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Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp rues defeat by Manchester City in Capital One Cup final – video

Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp conveys his side’s disappointment after losing the Capital One Cup final 3-1 on penalties to Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday. But Klopp says if Liverpool can continue to work hard, there may still be ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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Manuel Pellegrini lauds Manchester City’s League Cup victory over Liverpool – video

Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini praises his team’s victory in the Capital One Cup final over Liverpool on Sunday, hailing stand-in goalkeeper Willy Caballero as a hero. Pellegrini says fans should trust his tactics for the rest of the season

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Liverpool v Manchester City, Capital One Cup final – in pictures

The much maligned Willy Caballero saved three penalties as Manchester City won the Capital One Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout Continue reading…

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Liverpool v Manchester City, Capital One Cup final: how the players rated

Willy Caballero and Yaya Touré prove heroic for Manchester City at Wembley, while Simon Mignolet’s fine saves are undermined by costly mistake

Simon Mignolet

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Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini hails Willy Caballero as ‘perfect hero’

• Manager happy his faith in goalkeeper is vindicated after shootout win
• Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp says team must learn from pain of defeat

Manuel Pellegrini claimed Manchester City’s victory in the Capital One Cup final had vindicated his faith in Willy Caballero and the decision to field a weakened team in the FA Cup after insisting: “My word is more important than football.”

The City manager collected the third trophy of his reign after stand-in goalkeeper Caballero, celebrating above, performed heroics to condemn Liverpool to defeat in a penalty shootout at Wembley. Extra time had finished with the scores 1-1, with Philippe Coutinho cancelling out Fernandinho’s opener in the 83rd minute. But Coutinho, Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana were all denied by the Argentinian goalkeeper in the shoot-out before Yaya Touré stepped forward to win the trophy.

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Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini hails Willy Caballero as ‘perfect hero’

• Manager happy his faith in goalkeeper is vindicated after shootout win
• Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp says team must learn from pain of defeat

Manuel Pellegrini claimed Manchester City’s victory in the Capital One Cup final had vindicated his faith in Willy Caballero and the decision to field a weakened team in the FA Cup after insisting: “My word is more important than football.”

The City manager collected the third trophy of his reign after stand-in goalkeeper Caballero, celebrating above, performed heroics to condemn Liverpool to defeat in a penalty shootout at Wembley. Extra time had finished with the scores 1-1, with Philippe Coutinho cancelling out Fernandinho’s opener in the 83rd minute. But Coutinho, Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana were all denied by the Argentinian goalkeeper in the shoot-out before Yaya Touré stepped forward to win the trophy.

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Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero gives Lucas Leiva of Liverpool the run around

In the final’s key battlezone the Argentinian striker emerges the winner over the Brazilian, who was exposed for pace in his unfamiliar centre-half role

It did not take a genius to predict the key battle zone in this Capital One Cup final. Jürgen Klopp’s continued faith in Lucas Leiva at centre-back was given its sternest test yet against Sergio Agüero, who should have won the trophy for Manchester City without the need for penalties.

Lucas’s strategy for coping with Agüero was to stick tight, prevent the striker from turning, and get extremely physical. Brazil v Argentina battles are rarely timid and it was remarkable Lucas lasted the 120 minutes without a booking, considering the ferocity of some of his challenges from behind.

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Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet still defined by mistakes after Wembley howler

The goalkeeper’s Liverpool career was typified in a Capital One Cup final display that combined excellent saves with decisive blunders

Penalties provided Simon Mignolet with a shot at redemption in the Capital One Cup final but like his attempts to deny Jesús Navas, Sergio Agüero and Yaya Touré in the shootout, he could not quite get there. Wembley witnessed the good and bad of the Liverpool goalkeeper in microcosm and he will look back with bitter regret at the error that contributed to his club’s misery and left Jürgen Klopp with a major decision to make on his goalkeeper come the season’s end.

Manchester City were worthy winners despite requiring the vagaries of a penalty shootout to claim the trophy but they were indebted to Mignolet for their only goal against a Liverpool defence that comprised Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho for 95 minutes. Klopp arrived at Wembley seeking the win that would strengthen belief in his reign but exited with further evidence of the faultlines that have undermined too many Liverpool performances. They existed at both ends of the pitch in the club’s 12th League Cup final appearance.

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Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling may be hesitant but he is a winner

Sterling moved to City last summer and although his finishing leaves a lot to be desired, he won at Wembley at the expense of his former team-mates

Manuel Pellegrini does not seem the type to say I told you so. At least not when a minute or so of gentlemanly filibustering will do just as well. He might yet be tempted, at the end of a week that has seen a controversially engineered exit from the FA Cup followed by victory here in the Capital One Cup final to follow the club’s most decisive step yet towards the Champions League last eight.

That City required stoppage time and a penalty shootout here to beat Liverpool was down in large part to their own poor finishing in normal time, most notably two spectacular second-half misses from Raheem Sterling, who enjoyed a peculiarly mixed, energetic, imprecise, peculiarly Raheem first-ever domestic final.

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Willy Caballero shootout heroics help Manchester City past Liverpool

When the penalties were done, a fifth trophy had been added to Manchester City’s collection in the Abu Dhabi era, Yaya Touré was twirling his shirt after striking the decisive kick and Willy Caballero had become an unlikely hero for Manuel Pellegrini’s team. Caballero’s selection had been risky after his erratic performances as Joe Hart’s understudy but it was his goalkeeping in the shootout that meant the first silverware of the season would be heading to Manchester.

Caballero could not keep out Emre Can’s impudent little chip to get the penalties underway but thereafter he was unbeatable, diving to his left to turn away the attempts by Lucas Leiva and Coutinho, and then to his right to beat out Adam Lallana’s effort for his third successive save. Fernandinho had struck the post with City’s first penalty but that was their only miss. Jesús Navas and Sergio Agüero put them ahead and, when Touré beat Simon Mignolet, it decided the game without having to go to the final round of penalties.

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Liverpool v Manchester City: Capital One Cup final – live!

2.07pm GMT

Past/foreign country department

Here’s Bruce Grobbelaar before the 1984 Milk Cup final.

10.31am GMT

Look, we’re all friends here, so forgive me for speaking frankly: the Capital One Cup is never going to regain the magic of its golden age in the late 1980s. It’s too old, let go, it’s over. But after looking like an endangered competition around the turn of the century, it has found its niche in English football.

It works on two levels, as a means to an end and an end in itself. Many of the best English teams of the last 15 years won this trophy first: Chelsea in 2004-05, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last great Manchester United side a year later, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City, not to mention Juande Ramos’s all-conquering Spurs.

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Liverpool’s boys from Brazil eager to strike in Capital One Cup final

Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino both scored in their last meeting with Manchester City and want to make the difference again at Wembley

The last time Liverpool played Manchester City the scoreline was utterly convincing, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ran riot and Jürgen Klopp’s transformation of a side that had been drawing too many games appeared complete.

That 4-1 win at the Etihad still stands as one of the results and performances of the season. Both Coutinho and Firmino scored – the latter could easily have bagged a hat-trick – though neither Brazilian imagines Sunday’s Capital One Cup final is going to be quite such a walk in the park. “We played well in that game,” Coutinho recalls. “We did everything the manager asked and it all seemed to work, though we have discovered since that days like that don’t come along every week.” Firmino agrees. “This is a final, so we cannot expect it to be easy,” he says. “The first trophy of the season is on offer, the circumstances are completely different from last time.”

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‘You don’t want to take cup finals for granted,’ says Vincent Kompany

Manchester City’s captain says he is far too aware of the club’s recent past to take Liverpool lightly in the Capital One Cup final

Vincent Kompany is one of the most honest performers in football and in looking forward to Sunday’s Wembley final he does not even attempt to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. “Many people will see Liverpool as favourites,” the Manchester City captain says, matter of factly. “They are a good team, they have beaten us the last two times we have met and with all their strikers back they have great firepower. It’s a 50-50 game, and to be honest I prefer that. When you go to Wembley you want to be up against a team like Liverpool. We will have to rise to the challenge, to be at our best to win, and that’s how it should be. I always remember playing Wigan in the FA Cup final when everyone expected us to win easily. We didn’t and it was a big shock.”

Kompany does not necessarily expect today’s game to follow the pattern of November’s 4-1 hiding at the Etihad, though he is fairly sure Liverpool will once again produce their A game. “Every time we play Liverpool they always seem to be at their best,” he says. “I don’t know why, but everything seems to come together for them when they play us.

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Key tactics for Liverpool and Manchester City’s Capital One cup final

Jürgen Klopp and Manuel Pellegrini go head-to-head at Wembley on Sunday, here are five areas that might make the difference in the season’s first final

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The forgotten story of … Oxford United winning the 1986 League Cup | Simon Burnton

Twenty-four years later, Oxford’s second trip to Wembley would be for a Conference play-off final. But, remarkably, there was little remarkable about the then First Division side beating their QPR peers

The League Cup has a reputation for occasionally allowing unlikely sides to claim a slice of glory. So far 25% of its 54 finals have been won by teams that have never claimed either of England’s two other major honours, the FA Cup and First Division (though it will go down to 20% if three-times winners Leicester excuse themselves from that list by finishing top of this year’s Premier League). Five winners, as well as 12 beaten finalists, were not in the top flight at the time of their triumph. Five finalists, two of them victorious, weren’t in the second flight, either.

In that context Oxford United’s victory 30 years ago as a First Division side might seem unexceptional. But in the context of that club’s history, the very fact that it was unremarkable is itself astonishing. This, after all, is a club 123 years old that have four significant pots in their trophy cabinet, all bar one of them won between 1984 and 1986. Between those years Oxford streaked towards the summit of English football as if rocket-propelled, and then paused briefly to enjoy the view before gravity started doing its thing. After the highs of 1986 a second visit to Wembley finally came 24 years later, in the Conference play-offs. They are currently preparing for a third, against Barnsley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in April.

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Jürgen Klopp can turn doubt into belief with Liverpool Capital One Cup victory | Andy Hunter

The German manager’s motivational work for the cup final against Manchester City includes showing his players a montage of Liverpool’s eight League Cup victories, a record, before the club’s 12th final appearance

It took 147 weeks for Jürgen Klopp to build Borussia Dortmund into Bundesliga champions and claim the first trophy of his managerial career in Germany. His latest work will not be completed by the Capital One Cup but the process of turning doubt into belief at Liverpool would be galvanised should Klopp deliver after merely 143 days in England.

“I am not really sure,” said the 48-year-old on the long-term implications of beating Manchester City on Sunday. “But I am long enough in the business to know I am greedy for success.”

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Raheem Sterling seeks Manchester City vindication in Capital One Cup final | Jamie Jackson

The midfielder has endured an inconsistent season since the controversial move from Liverpool that was fuelled by his desire to win silverware

On Sunday Raheem Sterling has the chance he craves: to be a match-winner in a major final, when he steps out for Manchester City against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup showpiece. If Sterling is pivotal to his new club winning a first trophy since the 2014 Premier League, a season of promise pocked by inconsistency becomes one of undoubted success, after his controversial £49m transfer from City’s Wembley opponents.

As Manuel Pellegrini, his manager, says: “If we win a couple of titles and Raheem has an important performance it will be a good season for him. He has done good things, bad things and was very important the other day [against Dynamo Kyiv]. He continues to improve and give a lot of things to our squad. He has a lot of speed, good technique, goals – that’s why we bought him. I’m sure he can be a very successful player but it will depend on the way he improves.”

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Jordan Henderson: ‘As Liverpool captain you will be judged on what you win’

Victory in his first final as Liverpool captain, in the Capital One Cup at Wembley on Sunday, would help Henderson assert greater authority and put his own stamp on the team after an injury-hit season

Jordan Henderson did not take merely an armband from Steven Gerrard last summer. Lifting silverware has been an implicit part of the Liverpool captain’s job since Ron Yeats raised the standard more than 50 years ago and it remains the measure by which his successors are judged regardless of Anfield’s circumstance or the changing landscape of English football. The current custodian would not have it any other way.

Henderson also accepted a weight of history and responsibility when appointed to the captaincy in July. Not since Paul Ince’s tenure in 1997-99 has a Liverpool club captain failed to collect silverware (Jamie Redknapp was injured throughout 2001 but a treble was won on his watch) and the 25-year-old is anxious to uphold a rich tradition when Jürgen Klopp’s team face Manchester City in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final. It is a reason he took the mantle from Gerrard, a reason he left Sunderland, his boyhood club, for the unrelenting pressures of Liverpool.

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