Liverpool are well overdue a normal-time win in a major cup final, something they haven’t achieved since 2003.
That win came in brilliant fashion, admittedly – the Reds defeated Manchester United in the League Cup final. Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen provided the goals that day but it’s the last ‘routine’ win for Liverpool.
Two years later came the Champions League final which, of course, went to penalties. Liverpool won the FA Cup in the same way in 2006, too.
The only other major trophy since was the 2012 League Cup, which went, yet again, to penalties.
So is it not time that Liverpool won a trophy after proving they were better over 90 minutes? It’s hard to even tell why they struggle, seeing as the three opponents were so diverse.
It doesn’t matter if they were arguably the best team in Europe as AC Milan were in 2005 or a Championship team like Cardiff City in 2012. West Ham United in 2006 provided an ‘in-between’ by being a decent Premier League side.
It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s over-performing or under-performing – no matter who Liverpool face, they just seem to make it as difficult as possible.
Things were difficult for Liverpool before 2003, too. The 2001 treble season had three finals, of course, with Liverpool needing more than 90 minutes in two of them.
The League Cup win needed penalties, despite being against lower-league Birmingham City. The UEFA Cup relied on the now-defunct ‘Golden Goal’ rule in extra-time. Even the FA Cup win, won in normal time, was a comeback victory over Arsenal.
Liverpool do not do things the easy way. They’ve seen 16 years and nine finals won or lost since winning a final as intended, in normal time.
Saturday’s Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur gives them a chance to correct that. A decisive victory is long, long overdue.