Football Wiki
Football Wiki
Carabao Cup
EFL Cup (2016).png
Founded 1961
Region  England
Tournament information
Current champions Liverpool (9th title)
Number of teams 92
Most successful club Liverpool (9 times)
Football current event.png Current
Website Official website

The EFL Cup, also known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, or simply the League Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in men's domestic English football. Organised by the English Football League (EFL), it is open to any club within the top four levels of the English football league system - 92 clubs in total - comprising the top level Premier League, and the three divisions of the English Football League's own league competition (Championship, League One and League Two).

First held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup, it is one of the three top domestic football competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup. It concludes in February, long before the other two, which end in May. It was introduced by the league as a response to the growing popularity of European football, and to also exert power over the FA. It also took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights, allowing the fixtures to be played as midweek evening games. With the renaming of the Football League as the English Football League in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup from the 2016–17 season onwards.

The tournament is played over seven rounds, with single leg ties throughout, except the semi-finals. The final is held at Wembley Stadium; it is the only tie in the competition played at a neutral venue or on a weekend (Sunday). Entrants are seeded in the early rounds, and a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds, and to defer the entry of teams still involved in Europe. Winners receive the EFL Cup, of which there have been three designs, the current one also being the original. Winners also qualify for European football with a place in the UEFA Europa League - although this place is transferred to the highest-placed Premier League team not already qualified for Europe, should the winner also qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season. The current holders are Manchester City, who beat Liverpool 3–1 on penalties (1–1 a.e.t.) in the 2016 final to win their fourth League Cup. Liverpool are the most successful club in the history of the tournament with a total of eight wins.

Since 1982, the League Cup has been named after its sponsor, giving it the following names:


During the late 1950s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights. This opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter. The League Cup was introduced in the 1960–61 season specifically as a mid-week floodlit tournament. In the early years of the competition, many of the top teams declined to take part. It was only when automatic entry to the UEFA Cup was promised to the winners that the full League membership took part.

In the last 10 years, following restructuring of European football, and the introduction of the restructured format of the UEFA Champions League, the League Cup was threatened with losing its UEFA Cup slot for its winners. It has retained it thus far however, and along with France is the only nation to offer a UEFA cup slot to its second cup competition winners. Therefore it retains enough importance and popularity, especially with fans of clubs for whom the League Cup offers a realistic chance of qualifying for Europe.

Liverpool have won the cup on the most occasions, with seven victories including four successive trophies in the early 1980s. They have appeared ten times in the final overall, also a record. Thanks to winning the competition, Liverpool were able to complete two trebles of trophy wins, in 1984 and 2001. The present holders are Manchester City, who have won the EFL Cup 4 times in a row. Their latest victory being against Tottenham Hotspur by a scoreline of 1-0, Aymeric Laporte scoring the winner.

Giant killings are less well remembered in the League Cup than the FA Cup due to the absence of non-league sides and the fact that many big clubs have fielded very under-strength sides when knocked out. However, there have been some notable upsets, such as Fourth Division side Chester knocking league champions Leeds United out 3–0 en route to the semi-finals in 1974–75. In 1995–96, a youthful Manchester United side were thrashed 3–0 at home by York City in the second round, first leg. Despite fielding a very strong side in the return game, United could only win 3–1 and went out 4–3 on aggregate. United have also been knocked out by Southend United and Coventry City in the last two seasons after fielding weakened sides.


Preliminary Round

This is only used when the number of teams in European competition affects the number of byes to the third round and it would not be easier to give a club a bye to the second round. The match(es) involve the eligible clubs who finished lowest in the English football league system last season (normally clubs promoted from Conference National). This has only been used once—2002–03.

The ties are single matches, with extra time and a penalty shootout if necessary, with the winners progressing to the next round.

First round

All clubs playing in The Football League (the Football League Championship, Football League One and Football League Two), unless they are competing in the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Cup, enter at this stage and join any Preliminary Round winners. Sometimes (depending on the number of clubs competing in Europe, whether or not they play in The Football League and whether a preliminary round would be an easier way to even up the numbers) it is necessary to give one or more clubs a bye to the second round. The clubs would be those eligible to compete in the First Round who finished highest in the English football league system last season (normally clubs relegated from the FA Premier League).

For this round, the clubs are divided in northern and southern sections (though not always equally, so there could be more clubs in one section than another and, strangely, some of the clubs in the northern section are actually located further south than some of the southern section clubs). Half of the clubs from each section are seeded and half are not. First a draw is made to determine whether the seeded club is to play at home or away, and then the club is drawn against an unseeded club from their section.

The ties are single matches, with a penalty shootout if necessary, with the winners progressing to the next round.

Second round

All clubs playing in the FA Premier League, unless they are competing in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup (or took part in the UEFA Intertoto Cup), as well as any clubs that may have been given a bye to this round, enter at this stage and join the First Round winners.

The ties are single matches, with a penalty shootout if necessary, with the winners progressing to the next round.

Third round

All clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup enter at this stage and join the Second Round winners (making for a total of thirty-two clubs).

The ties are single matches, with a penalty shootout if necessary, with the winners progressing to the next round.

Fourth round and quarter-finals

The winners of ties in the previous round play single matches with a penalty shootout if necessary. The fifth rounds are also known as the quarter-finals.


The four quarter-final winners compete in this round.

The ties are played over two matches (one at each club's stadium) with the aggregate score being used to determine the winners. If the scores are level at the end of the second match a penalty shootout is used to decide the winners.


The two semi-final winners compete to win the cup.

The tie is a single match played at a neutral stadium (which was the Millennium Stadium between the seasons 2000–01 and 2006–07 but from 2008 onwards returned to Wembley Stadium), with extra time and a penalty shootout if necessary.

Media coverage

Currently Sky Sports enjoy exclusive rights to League Cup matches of their choosing, with the ownership of the highlights package also giving Sky Sports a monopoly on the EFL.

From 2010 until 2015 the League Cup final was shown on Sky Sports and the BBC. The BBC would show both legs of one semi-final and the final which were shared with Sky Sports, however since 2015 the BBC has not had these rights. In Australia, the semi-finals and final are shown on Fox Sports.


1961–1966 (two legs)

Year Home Team Score Away Team Venue
1961 Rotherham United 2–0 Aston Villa Millmoor
Aston Villa 3–0* Rotherham United Villa Park
Aston Villa won 3–2 on aggregate
1962 Rochdale 0–3 Norwich City Spotland
Norwich City 1–0 Rochdale Carrow Road
Norwich City won 4–0 on aggregate
1963 Birmingham City 3–1 Aston Villa St Andrews
Aston Villa 0–0 Birmingham City Villa Park
Birmingham City won 3–1 on aggregate
1964 Stoke City 1–1 Leicester City Victoria Ground
Leicester City 3–2 Stoke City Filbert Street
Leicester City won 4–3 on aggregate
1965 Chelsea 3–2 Leicester City Stamford Bridge
Leicester City 0–0 Chelsea Filbert Street
Chelsea won 3–2 on aggregate
1966 West Ham United 2–1 West Bromwich Albion Upton Park
West Bromwich Albion 4–1 West Ham United The Hawthorns
West Bromwich Albion won 5–3 on aggregate

Since 1967 (single game)

Year Home Team Score Away Team Venue Referee
1967 Queens Park Rangers 3–2 West Bromwich Albion Wembley Stadium
1968 Leeds United 1–0 Arsenal Wembley Stadium
1969 Swindon Town 3–1* Arsenal Wembley Stadium
1970 Manchester City 2–1* West Bromwich Albion Wembley Stadium
1971 Tottenham Hotspur 2–0 Aston Villa Wembley Stadium
1972 Stoke City 2–1 Chelsea Wembley Stadium
1973 Tottenham Hotspur 1–0 Norwich City Wembley Stadium
1974 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2–1 Manchester City Wembley Stadium
1975 Aston Villa 1–0 Norwich City Wembley Stadium
1976 Manchester City 2–1 Newcastle United Wembley Stadium
1977 Aston Villa 0–0* Everton Wembley Stadium
Aston Villa 1–1* Everton Replay – Hillsborough Stadium
Aston Villa 3–2* Everton Replay – Old Trafford
1978 Nottingham Forest 0–0* Liverpool Wembley Stadium
Nottingham Forest 1–0 Liverpool Replay – Old Trafford
1979 Nottingham Forest 3–2 Southampton Wembley Stadium
1980 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0 Nottingham Forest Wembley Stadium
1981 Liverpool 1–1* West Ham United Wembley Stadium
Liverpool 2–1 West Ham United Replay – Villa Park
1982 Liverpool 3–1* Tottenham Hotspur Wembley Stadium
1983 Liverpool 2–1* Manchester United Wembley Stadium
1984 Liverpool 0–0* Everton Wembley Stadium
Liverpool 1–0 Everton Replay – Maine Road
1985 Norwich City 1–0 Sunderland Wembley Stadium
1986 Oxford United 3–0 Queens Park Rangers Wembley Stadium
1987 Arsenal 2–1 Liverpool Wembley Stadium
1988 Luton Town 3–2 Arsenal Wembley Stadium
1989 Nottingham Forest 3–1 Luton Town Wembley Stadium
1990 Nottingham Forest 1–0 Oldham Athletic Wembley Stadium
1991 Sheffield Wednesday 1–0 Manchester United Wembley Stadium
1992 Manchester United 1–0 Nottingham Forest Wembley Stadium
1993 Arsenal 2–1 Sheffield Wednesday Wembley Stadium Referee: Allan Gunn
1994 Aston Villa 3–1 Manchester United Wembley Stadium Referee: Keith Cooper
1995 Liverpool 2–1 Bolton Wanderers Wembley Stadium Referee: Philip Don
1996 Aston Villa 3–0 Leeds United Wembley Stadium Referee: Robbie Hart
1997 Leicester City 1–1* Middlesbrough Wembley Stadium Referee: Martin Bodenham
Leicester City 1–0* Middlesbrough Replay – Hillsborough Stadium Referee: Martin Bodenham
1998 Chelsea 2–0* Middlesbrough Wembley Stadium Referee: Peter Jones
1999 Tottenham Hotspur 1–0 Leicester City Wembley Stadium Referee: Terry Heilbron
2000 Leicester City 2–1 Tranmere Rovers Wembley Stadium Referee: Alan Wilkie
2001 Liverpool 1–1* Birmingham City Millennium Stadium Referee: David Elleray
Liverpool won 5–4 on penalties
2002 Blackburn Rovers 2–1 Tottenham Hotspur Millennium Stadium Referee: Graham Poll
2003 Liverpool 2–0 Manchester United Millennium Stadium Referee: Paul Durkin
2004 Middlesbrough 2–1 Bolton Wanderers Millennium Stadium Referee: Mike Riley
2005 Chelsea 3–2* Liverpool Millennium Stadium Referee: Steve Bennett
2006 Manchester United 4–0 Wigan Athletic Millennium Stadium Referee: Alan Wiley
2007 Chelsea 2–1 Arsenal Millennium Stadium Referee: Howard Webb
2008 Tottenham Hotspur 2–1* Chelsea Wembley Stadium Referee: Mark Halsey
2009 Manchester United 0 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur Wembley Stadium Referee: Chris Foy
Manchester United won 4–1 on penalties
2010 Aston Villa 1–2 Manchester United Wembley Stadium Referee: Phil Dowd
2011 Birmingham City 1–2 Arsenal Wembley Stadium Referee: Mike Dean
2012 Cardiff City 2–2 Liverpool Wembley Stadium Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Liverpool won 3–2 on penalties
2013 Bradford City 0–5 Swansea City Wembley Stadium Referee: Kevin Friend
2014 Manchester City 3–1 Sunderland Wembley Stadium Referee: Martin Atkinson
2015 Chelsea 2–0 Tottenham Hotspur Wembley Stadium Referee: Anthony Taylor
2016 Liverpool 1–1 Manchester City Wembley Stadium Referee: Michael Oliver
Manchester City won 3–1 on penalties

Note: * means after extra time

Table of winners

No Club Winner Last win Runner-up Last losing final
1 Liverpool 7 2003 3 2005
2 Aston Villa 5 1996 3 2010
3 Manchester United 4 2010 4 2003
= Tottenham Hotspur 4 2008 3 2009
= Nottingham Forest 4 1990 2 1992
= Chelsea 4 2007 2 2008
7 Leicester City 3 2000 2 1999
8 Arsenal 2 1993 4 2007
= Norwich City 2 1985 2 1975
= Manchester City 2 1976 1 1974
= Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 1980 0 N/A

Clubs with one win:


From 1981 to 2016 and again from 2017, the League Cup was named after its sponsor, giving it the following names:

Period Sponsor Name
1960/61–1980/81 No main sponsor Football League Cup
1981/82–1985/86 Milk Marketing Board Milk Cup
1986/87–1989/90 Littlewoods Littlewoods Challenge Cup
1990/91–1991/92 Rumbelows Rumbelows Cup
1992/93–1997/98 Coca-Cola Coca-Cola Cup
1998/99–2002/03 Worthington's Worthington Cup
2003/04–2011/12 Molson Coors Carling Cup
2012/13–2015/16 Capital One Capital One Cup
2016/17 No main sponsor EFL Cup
2017/18- Carabao Carabao Cup

External links

EFL Cup by seasons

1960–61 · 2008-09 · 2009-10 · 2010-11 · 2011-12 · 2012-13 · 2013-14 · 2014-15 · 2015-16 · 2016–17 · 2017–18 · 2018–19 · 2019–20 · 2020-21 · 2021-22 ·

EFL Cup finals

1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010 · 2011 · 2012 · 2013 · 2014 · 2015 · 2016 · 2017 · 2018 · 2019 · 2020 · 2021 · 2022 ·