League Cup Final - City or Liverpool?

[caption id="attachment_468" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Liverpool vs Manchester City Liverpool vs Manchester City[/caption]

The first silverware of the season will be won this weekend at Wembley Stadium as Liverpool take on Manchester City in the Capital One League Cup Final on Sunday afternoon.

[caption id="attachment_441" align="alignleft" width="150"]League Cup League Cup[/caption]

Sunday’s final is the first time Jurgen Klopp has managed in an English cup final, though he will be hoping he leaves Wembley happier than on his last visit, when he was in charge of Dortmund for the 2013 Champions League Final against winners Bayern Munich.

There is also another first happening, as Mitre, official ball suppliers to the Football League, debut their Capital One Cup Final Delta Hyperseam football.  Hyperseam is the only ball to fuse stitched and bonded seams which gives players the benefit of both.

[caption id="attachment_453" align="alignright" width="150"]Mitre Delta Hyperseam Capital One Cup Final Ball Mitre Delta Hyperseam Capital One Cup Final Ball[/caption]

The Hyperseam technology means that there is zero water intake which results in consistency in wet and dry conditions.  The foam and inner rubber lining increases power and control while the 12 panel textured construction offers aerodynamic control.

Liverpool is the most successful club in League Cup history since its formation in 1961.  Having last won the competition in 2012 they will be looking to add to their 8 successes with victory.  However Jurgen Klopp’s team go into the match as underdogs against a Manchester City side aiming to win their 4th League Cup following their last lifting of the trophy in 2014.

The Reds made their journey to Wembley the hard way, having to see off lower league side Carlisle United on penalties in the 3rd round while Brendan Rodgers was still in charge at Anfield, then scraping past Bournemouth 1-0 in Round 4 with a Nathaniel Clyne goal giving Klopp his first victory as Liverpool boss.  They did turn on the style in the Quarter Finals though, thumping Southampton 6-1 away from home, the highlights being a Sturridge double and Divock Origi hat-trick.  But in the semi-finals they had to rely on a penalty shoot-out to get past fellow Premier League side Stoke City after a tense two-legged encounter.

The Citizens path to London was a lot more comfortable.  A 4-1 defeat of Sunderland in round three was followed up with a 5-1 thumping of Crystal Palace, before the boys in sky blue breezed past Hull City 4-1 to reach the last four.  After a close 2-1 defeat at Goodison to Everton, City dashed hopes of an all-Merseyside final with a 3-1 home win against the Toffees to make Sunday’s showpiece.  The one black mark on the semi-final triumph was a bad injury to star player Kevin de Bruyne.  The £54million playmaker’s absence has coincided with an overall dip in form for the Manchester side which has seen them drop to outsiders for the league title.

[caption id="attachment_448" align="alignleft" width="150"]Raheem Sterling Raheem Sterling[/caption]

For Liverpool to be successful they will need a repeat of the high-tempo game they played in November when they demolished City 4-1 at the Etihad, and will be relying on the skills of Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.  It’d be a timely moment for Christian Benteke to break his scoring drought, though Klopp may decide to go with Origi and Firmino alongside Sturridge.  The Reds will look to Henderson, Milner and Can to contain the pace and trickery of Yaya Toure, David Silva and ex-Liverpool star Raheem Sterling and prevent them supplying red-hot striker Sergio Aguero who will be odds-on favourite to score the first goal.

Hyperseam is the official ball of the Football League and Scottish Professional Football League, and is used in all Football League and League Cup matches.  It is the latest innovative style in a long and unrivalled history of Mitre footballs, stretching back to 1949 (though the company’s history goes back as far as 1817).  Hyperseam follows on from great concepts such as the Delta 1000, Ultimax and Revolve.


So who will lift the Cup on Sunday?  Will it be Klopp's Kop army celebrating, or will Manuel Pellegrini’s pre-match Pep talk inspire Manchester City to pick up the first trophy of the season?  Direct Soccer want your predictions of the score (after 90 minutes plus injury time, not including extra-time and penalties) with one lucky winner* receiving a Mitre Delta Hyperseam Football League Match ball as seen below (RRP £110) thanks to our friends at Mitre/Prostar if you can predict correctly.  You can give us your predictions on our Facebook page for the chance to win this top football!

[caption id="attachment_446" align="alignright" width="300"]Mitre Delta Football League Hyperseam Mitre Delta Football League Hyperseam[/caption]

Good luck and enjoy the game!

*In the event of more than one correct guess, the winner will be chosen at random.  In the event of nobody giving the correct score, we will put every guess in the hat.