Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Founded in 1960, the League Cup, sometimes now referred to as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, was started in part as somewhat of a consolation for teams already knocked out of the FA Cup. The tournament was also implemented as a way for clubs to raise revenue and have another shot at winning silverware.

Though not the biggest priority for the massive clubs, teams that do not normally win the Premier League or European cups have a solid shot at picking up a trophy. In fact, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Swansea City have all won the League Cup within the last 20 years.

With the bigger clubs not necessarily having their main focus on League Cup matches, smaller teams can have more of a chance at pulling off major upsets and progress through the tournament. This ‘giant-killing,’ as it is usually referred to, makes for big upsets and extremely compelling television.

The League Cup consists of all 92 Premier League and English Football League clubs. The first round of the competition involves 70 teams, with every League Two, League One, and 22 of the 24 EFL Championship clubs taking part. Then, the other two Championship teams and 13 Premier League clubs are added to the tournament in the second round. The seven Premier League clubs involved in European competitions are then added to the third round of the League Cup.

League Cup 2020-21 format

All 92 clubs competing in the Premier League and the English Football League enter the 2020-21 Carabao Cup, with participation distributed across the divisions.

The competition will be played over seven rounds, with single-leg ties throughout. The previous two-legged tie for the semi-final was scrapped in favour of one.

In round one, the draw was split into northern and southern clubs with 22 Championship sides and all League One and League Two clubs entering.

League Cup’s Schedule

Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo

League Cup 2020-21 final

The Carabao Cup 2020-21 final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Sunday April 25, 2021. It will kick off at 4pm GMT (11am ET)

It had originally been scheduled for February 28, 2021, but the EFL made the decision to rearrange the date in order to increase the chances of supporters being able to attend.

League Cup 2020-21 semi-finals

The Carabao Cup 2020-21 semi-finals were played on January 4 and 5, 2021, with the ties contested over one leg rather than two to help with fixture congestion.

Tottenham booked their place in the final after seeing off Championship side Brentford with a 2-0 win in north London.

They were joined in the final by defending champions Manchester City, who overcame Manchester United at Old Trafford in a huge derby encounter.

League Cup 2020-21 quarter-finals

The quarter-final ties were played the week starting December 21.

Manchester City compounded Mikel Arteta's woes by inflicting a 4-1 defeat on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, closing off a potential avenue for redemption for the Gunners boss.

They were to be joined in the final four by local rivals Manchester United, who scored two late goals to see of Everton.

Championship promotion contenders Brentford sprung a surprise by beating Newcastle United.

League Cup 2020-21 fourth round

The fourth round ties were played the week commencing September 28.

Tottenham advanced to the quarter-finals over Chelsea through penalty shootout, while Liverpool were outdone by Arsenal in the same manner.

Man Utd beat Brighton 3-0 to progress, while Man City registered victory against Burnley by the same scoreline.

League Cup 2020-21 third round

The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were automatically registered for the third round due to their participation in European competitions.

Leyton Orient's match against Tottenham was called off due to the home side announcing positive Covid-19 cases , with Spurs handed a bye for the fourth round.

The draw was conducted on September 6, and was played the week commencing September 21.

League Cup 2020-21 second round

Fifty teams were involved in round two of the Carabao Cup, including Premier League clubs that are not participating in European competition.

Like previous years, the draw was again split into 'northern' and 'southern' sections. The draw for the second round was made on September 6.

League Cup 2020-21 first round

Seventy clubs participated in the first round, with 24 teams from League Two (tier four), 24 from League One (tier three), and 22 from the Championship (tier two).

The draw was divided between 'northern' and 'southern' sections. Teams were drawn against a team from the same section.

How to watch League Cup in the USA

Photo: SportMob
Photo: SportMob

Here in the United States, ESPN+ currently holds the rights to air League Cup matches. The streaming service costs $5.99 per month, or you can save even more by getting the annual plan for $49.99 per year.

While ESPN+ is only available via streaming, you can watch it on your TV by casting the game or using Airplay or your smart TV.

Along with the League Cup, ESPN+ also currently provides access to Bundesliga, Serie A, Coppa Italia, UEFA Nations League, FA Cup, Championship, League One, League Two, U.S. Open Cup, International Champions Cup, Supercoppa Italiana, Eredivisie, Danish Superliga, Chinese Super League, Indian Super League, Australian A-League, Sweden’s Allsvenskan, as well as out-of-market games in MLS and USL.

ESPN+ is available on Apple and Android devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Roku, Oculus Go, Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

How to live stream League Cup

beIN Sports are the official Australian Carabao Cup broadcaster, and will be televising several live matches each week of play. You can access these English Leage Cup on beIN Sports telecasts through either Foxtel, Telstra, Foxtel Now or Kayo Sports. Foxtel, Telstra and Kayo Sports will also carry beIN’s coverage of the FFA Cup and La Liga, in addition to every match of the A League live with no ad-breaks during play.

For the 2020/21 season, ESPN+ will be streaming games from every round of the competition. Matches are typically available live on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2:45pm ET when the competition is being played.

For this year’s competition, if a game is tied after 90 minutes, there will be no extra time. Instead, games will go directly to penalty kicks to decide the winner.

For the 2021/22 season, the first round of the League Cup games is expected to begin the week of August 9, 2021. The final will be played on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

*READ MORE: How to Watch UEFA Champions League Live Online from Anywhere: Quick Guide, Links

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