Their achievement in the Premier League last year was enough to show that Brendan Rodgers’ side has potential to grow, but a win in the Capital One Cup would give his team a platform on which to build.
Rodgers has a lot to be credited with in his time at the Anfield club, not least the development of the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson. Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan were also key players last season as the Reds pushed for the Premier League title, missing out only in the last three games of the season.
However, there is not yet a proof of concept for his team, on paper, something that shows that on their day, they can be one of the better sides in the country.
With owner John W Henry clearly somewhat sack happy, given the rumours surrounding Rodgers’ future a few months ago, a trophy would certainly help.
Qualification for the Champions League last season was an achievement, but the story was still really missing out on the crown.
Winning the League Cup does not, these days, compare to either achievement, and Rodgers seems to have earmarked the FA Cup final as a possible future fixture for his team, especially due to Steven Gerrard’s retirement. It also did not save Kenny Dalglish.
However, a trophy at this stage in the season could reap untold benefits for the team going forward.
It would show any players being lined up for the summer that if they move to Liverpool, there is the possibility of winning trophies – something that can sometimes appeal as much as wages.
Winning a cup competition itself is also the first step towards establishing a legacy for a manager. It can also give a boss more time in a post. Alex Ferguson’s FA Cup win with Manchester United is often pointed to as the start point of a veritable dynasty at Old Trafford. He was on the cusp of being sacked before Mark Robins earned him a victory early in the competition.
Rodgers with a trophy to his name and, everything else he has achieved, looks like a far more impressive manager on paper.
A win tonight is the first step towards a piece of silverware, and beating Chelsea could also kickstart their campaign, which has never hit the heights of last season.
However, with Sturridge set to return this week, undoubtedly with the benefit of improving their side, the boost and momentum from a win against the league leaders could do untold good for them.
It’s easy to forget that Liverpool’s excellent form in the second part of last season came, in part, due to pure momentum. The same could be achieved this year with a few big results.
It would also prove to both outside observers and the club themselves that they have the potential to be real contenders for the Champions League places going into the second half of the football calendar.
It’s also a doable feat. While Rodgers has warned about the potential for the Blues to be dangerous tonight, having lost to Bradford City at the weekend, the loss mainly demonstrated the potential weakness in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Jon Stead was excellent for the Yorkshire side in that match, but in comparison to the options available to Rodgers up front, he is not on the same level.
The likes of Rickie Lambert could profit from that weakness at the back tonight, and Sterling offers the sort of threat John Terry and Gary Cahill hate dealing with.
While a win in the semi-final tonight does not promise anything, it has enough possible benefits that a win has become something of a must for Liverpool. If they can achieve it, it could have far reaching benefits beyond just a place in the final of England’s secondary cup competition.