League Cup bogey is buried

01 April 1981

 Alan Hansen was the unlikely match winner as Liverpool finally broke their League Cup hoodoo to lift the trophy for the first time in our history.

 The elegant Scot lashed home the winner on 25 minutes to secure a 2-1 replay win over West Ham after Kenny Dalglish had cancelled out Paul Goddard's early opener.

 The League Cup was a competition that had previously been lower on the list of priorities at Liverpool Football Club. Shunned for the majority of the Sixties and dubbed a 'Mickey Mouse' trophy by the fans it was a competition that sparked little interest at Anfield at first.
 
But once a passage into Europe was guaranteed for the winners - not to mention a day out at Wembley - that attitude began to change and Phil Thompson finally lifted the trophy on Liverpool's behalf in a replay at Villa Park.
 
Despite conquering all before them in other competitions the League Cup had remained conspicuous by its absence from the Anfield trophy cabinet.

 A controversial defeat by Nottingham Forest in the replayed final of 1978 had been a bitter pill to swallow, so when the Reds met West Ham in three years later there was a steely determination within the club that this would be the season they finally broke their League cup duck.

The Reds had looked set to claim the trophy at Wembley 18 days earlier until a Ray Stewart penalty cancelled out Alan Kennedy's opener deep into extra-time.

When the two clubs met again Paul Goddard gave the Hammers an early lead and League Cup misery was again staring Liverpool in the face. However, a well-taken goal from Kenny Dalglish, following an exquisite through ball by Terry McDermott, levelled matters before Hansen's header deflected off the knee of Billy Bonds and past the despairing dive of keeper Phil Parkes.
 
It was enough to secure a memorable 2-1 success and signalled the start of an unprecedented period of League Cup dominance by one club.

"It had always been a bit of jinx to us," recalls Thommo. "But there was a trophy there to be won. We wanted to win it and it was a tremendous moment."