Reds can rest easy that every underdog has its day
With their club in a Wembley final for the first time in 16 years, Liverpool fans are reminded of the 'white suits' FA Cup decider when the Merseyside club lost to an Eric Cantona-inspired Manchester United in 1996.
But there may be more relevance to a less-remembered Wembley showcase the year before.
On that occasion, Liverpool lifted the 1995 League Cup trophy, then known as the Coca-Cola Cup - the same trophy which they are targeting against Cardiff City tomorrow in its guise as the Carling Cup. And like 17 years ago, it was a team from the second tier - the Bolton Wanderers - that Liverpool had to beat. They won 2-1 in a game remembered as Steve McManaman's match because of the two goals scored by the Liverpool midfielder.
'There are definitely some similarities between the 1995 final and this one,' Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, said. He also took the Reds to Wembley that season and the following year against United when they donned Armani cream suits at the suggestion of goalkeeper David James.
'It's a game that Liverpool will be strong favourites to win, but one they will have to prepare for just the same as if they were playing any of the top teams. They need to treat Cardiff with respect, but not too much respect.'
When Liverpool lifted the Coca-Cola Cup in 1995, it was their first silverware in three years. If they win against Cardiff, it will be their first major trophy since the 2006 FA Cup.
'When we won in 1995, it was brilliant because we saw it as a big step forward,' Evans said. 'It's the same this weekend under Kenny. Winning a trophy will help the club get back into the swing of things.'
Playing at Wembley will add prestige to the occasion for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who was with the Reds as they collected two FA Cups and two League Cups in the five seasons that English finals were held in Cardiff.
Gerrard said this week that he wished the Cardiff finals had been at Wembley, where he made his England debut 12 years ago. He has also captained his country at the rebuilt stadium.
Seventeen years ago at the old Wembley, the Coca-Cola Cup carried more value than today's tournament, which sees the big clubs routinely field lesser sides in the early rounds.
'These days qualifying for the Champions League is important, but back then winning the League Cup was still a big deal and clubs wouldn't dream of fielding under-strength teams,' Evans said. 'Soon after we took a 2-0 lead in the second half, Bolton scored and had their chances over the last 20 minutes. I remember one late free kick from them that just went over the bar.'
Evans was so impressed with two of the players from a feisty Bolton side - Jason McAteer and Alan Stubbs - that he tried to sign them. But only McAteer would make the move to Anfield, with the midfielder playing more than 100 games between 1995 and 1999.
Despite their precocious squad and the promise of their Wembley appearances in 1995 and 1996, Liverpool are remembered for their chronic underachieving in the 1990s. It wasn't until Frenchman Gerard Houllier took over during the 1998-99 season that the Reds started to turn things around. Houllier's highlight was a trophy treble, including the Uefa Cup, plus a place in the Champions League, in 2001.
Former midfielder Dietmar Hamann, who tasted success in 2001 with Houllier and in 2005 when the Reds lifted the European Cup under Rafael Benitez, says the significance of the 2012 Carling Cup final can't be underestimated.
Hamann (pictured) said: 'I think it would be very important to get that monkey off their back because the longer you don't win anything the harder it gets.
'They haven't won anything for a few years so I think it's very important to get that first trophy under [their] belt, with a new manager and a pretty new team.'
Hamann played in a losing FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium for his former club Newcastle against Manchester United in 1999, but is better remembered for his impact coming on as a second-half substitute in the 2006 FA Cup final at Cardiff. Liverpool were trailing 3-2 to West Ham, but ended up winning 3-1 on penalties, with the German converting the first spot kick.
'Winning another Cup final would give Liverpool a boost,' Hamann said. 'It could even help them in the league as well because a top-four finish is what Liverpool needs more than anything.'
The Carling Cup is no Mickey Mouse trophy to a silverware-starved Liverpool side, who have become grateful for small mercies.