Suffice to say, the recent 5-5 League Cup thriller between Liverpool and Arsenal was rather entertaining. In a match that felt more like a Sunday league game than a clash of two of the biggest clubs in the country, Liverpool triumphed on penalties after a rip-roaring exhibition of defensive ineptitude, long-range screamers, goalkeeping blunders, and general carnage. Plenty of football betting odds slips will have been torn up at various stages of the match – that’s for sure.
It wasn’t the first time the League Cup had produced a bonkers game of football. Let’s take a look at a few examples of some similar drama-laden goal-fests we’ve seen in the competition throughout the years.
Reading 5-7 Arsenal, October 2012
One of the craziest games in modern English football history, this match had just about everything and more. Incredibly, Reading established a 4-0 lead after 35 minutes, with goals from Jason Roberts, Noel Hunt, Mikele Leigertwood and an own goal causing the home fans to think it was going to be a comfortable night at the Madejski Stadium.
Theo Walcott got a goal back for the Gunners on the stroke of half-time, and the fun for the North London side finally began. In the second half, goals from Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and a last-minute equaliser from Walcott meant it was 4-4 going into extra time.
You might have expected the game to settle down in the additional 30 minutes with players feeling fatigued, but the opposite happened. Arsenal took the lead through Marouane Chamakh and thought they had completed an incredible comeback, but Pavel Pogrebnyak’s header brought the scores level once again. From there, Arsenal’s superiority eventually told, as Walcott completed his hat-trick and Chamakh bagged his second to send the travelling fans into a state of delirium.
Dagenham & Redbridge 6-6 (p) Brentford, August 2014
This first-round clash between Dagenham & Redbridge and Brentford turned into an early-season cracker in east London. Brentford took an early two-goal lead thanks to a Stuart Dallas brace, but the Daggers wouldn’t lie down.
George Porter pulled one back for the home side before Nick Proschwitz made it 3-1 to Brentford. Ashley Chambers’ strike made it 3-2 at half-time, and after the break, Andre Boucard’s goal brought the scores level. Andre Gray thought he had sealed victory for Brentford with his 83rd minute goal, but Ashley Hemmings popped up in the dying seconds to take the game to extra-time.
The two sides continued to trade blows, and Dagenham & Redbridge took the lead at 6-5 after goals from Hemmings and Jamie Cureton countered Montell Moore’s strike. The last word went to Brentford defender Harlee Dean, who scored to make it 6-6 and take the game to a penalty shoot-out, in which Brentford triumphed.
Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal, January 2007
October’s thriller between Liverpool and Arsenal was not the first time the two sides have thrown up a cracker at Anfield in the League Cup. In the quarter-finals of the 2006-07 tournament, Arsenal came to Merseyside having won an FA Cup tie at Anfield days earlier, and it didn’t take long for the Gunners to seize control once again.
Jeremy Aliadiere’s finish gave Arsenal the lead, and although Robbie Fowler bagged an equaliser, a goal from Alex Song and a brace from Julio Baptista gave the away side a 4-1 lead at half-time. Baptista sealed his hat-trick to make it 5-1 before Liverpool staged a mini-revival with goals from Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. It proved to be Baptista’s night, as the Brazilian notched his fourth of the evening to make it 6-3 and leave the home crowd shell-shocked.
The League Cup has a propensity for giving us these crazy nights of football. The recent 5-5 at Anfield was the latest in a long list of League Cup crackers, and you can be sure there will be plenty more goal-fests in the competition in years to come.