The four remaining teams in this season’s Capital One Cup find themselves just two matches away from a Wembley final and Sky Sports will have both legs from each tie exclusively live this January.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United are the four sides that remain in the hunt for the first silverware of the English football season, with Jose Mourinho’s men going head-to-head with Brendan Rodgers’ side, while Nigel Clough’s Blades will hope to cause an upset against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs in the other semi-final.
The Reds and the Blues have won the competition 12 times between them and they’ll have their sights firmly set on adding to their respective tallies.
Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory against Derby County at the iPro Stadium in the previous round, with the Blues taking the lead midway through the first half when Eden Hazard beat a couple of defenders and finished low beyond Derby stopper Lee Grant.
That was Hazard’s third goal in last four appearances in all competitions but Chelsea’s next goalscorer was on target for the first time in his Blues career, and that man was Filipe Luis.
The Brazilian put the ball down for a free-kick in the 55th minute and bent it over the wall to perfection, and seemingly put Jose Mourinho’s men in command. They controlled possession for a prolonged spell but Craig Bryson pulled one back for the Rams with 20 minutes to play, stroking home from the edge of the area.
It was set for a grandstand finish but Derby defender Jake Buxton was dismissed for pulling Loic Remy back as he attempted to go through on goal, before Andre Schurrle wrapped up the victory, and a place in the last four, from close range after Grant had initially denied Remy.
Raheem Sterling’s first goals since mid-September helped Liverpool end a miserable seven days with a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals at the expense of Bournemouth.
The England winger had endured a 22-game goal drought for club and country until he set Liverpool on their way to a 3-1 away win with a close-range header.
Lazar Markovic grabbed the second before a trademark Sterling run ended with his fifth goal of the season to put the smiles back on the faces of supporters after their Old Trafford defeat last weekend.
Dan Gosling, who memorably netted a cup winner to beat Liverpool in his Everton days, pulled a goal back and then rattled a post but the Sky Bet Championship leaders relinquished their 12-game unbeaten run.
Spurs will be heavily backed to make it to the final in their semi-final clash against Sheffield United, but the Blades shouldn’t be written off, with Nigel Clough’s men have claimed the cup scalps of Aston Villa, Fulham, West Ham and Southampton in the last two seasons.
Mauricio Pochettino’s start to life in North London has not been without its teething problems, yet Spurs fans are now beginning to see the performances they yearn for, having obliterated Newcastle United in the quarter-finals to stylishly secured their place in the last four.
The recent improvements were evident at White Hart Lane, when Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado all scored in a 4-0 beating of Newcastle.
This season’s surprise package in the Capital One Cup are League 1’s Sheffield United, who caused an upset by seeing off Premier League Southampton 1-0 at Bramall Lane in the quarter-finals.
Marc McNulty was credited with the only goal of the game but it was a contentious one as it came after Bob Harris’ free-kick was close to crossing the line, squirming past Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Not that Blades manager Nigel Clough, or any of his players, will mind as they have another cup semi-final to look forward to, just a season after they made it to the last four of the FA Cup.
Sky Sports will be the place to watch both legs of each semi-final tie exclusively live this January, with all four games being presented by Simon Thomas, alongside Sky regulars Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville as well as special guests.
Free-to-air highlights of every round will be shown on BBC One in The League Cup Show, presented by Manish Bhasin, with two 45-minute shows covering both the first and second leg ties.
For more information about the Capital One Cup, visit www.capitalonecup.co.uk.
|CAPITAL ONE CUP 2014/15 – SEMI FINALS|
|TUESDAY 20th JANUARY|
|Liverpool v Chelsea 1st Leg||19:45|
|WEDNESDAY 21st JANUARY|
|Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United 1st Leg||19:45|
|The League Cup Show Highlights||23:15|
|TUESDAY 27th JANUARY|
|Chelsea v Liverpool 2nd Leg||19:45|
|WEDNESDAY 28th JANUARY|
|Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur 2nd Leg||19:45|
|The League Cup Show Highlights||23:15|