As we continue our build-up to Sunday's Carabao Cup final by reflecting on Chelsea's previous successes in the competition, we caught up with former Blue Joe Cole who discusses our 2005 triumph over Liverpool and how he feels the current crop can ‘follow in the footsteps’ of Mourinho’s fledglings of 19 years ago.

When Chelsea and Liverpool meet, there’s usually fireworks.

The two sides are the antithesis of one another. The complete opposite and yet so intrinsically similar.

Two of England’s most successful clubs, one from the capital and the other from the industrial north. Blue vs Red, the Frank Lampard x Steven Gerrard debate. Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez. So many links and narratives run between these football heavyweights.

With all that in mind, when the two sides met at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in February 2005, scores were ready to be settled.

Mourinho and Benitez – two of the most-talked-about tacticians at the time – were both vying for a first trophy with their respective clubs. Something had to give in the Welsh capital. Red and Blue were set to commence battle once again and a rivalry that lasts to this day was about to intensify.

Joe Cole – a man who turned out for both Chelsea and Liverpool during his career – is in the perfect position to recall that 2005 epic, which the Blues won 3-2 after extra time, ahead of the current sides meeting in the same competition at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Our interview with Joe takes place over the phone. He’s sat in his car, 15 minutes to spare before his next meeting, but he pauses to think when asked for his initial thoughts on that 2005 showpiece.

After a few seconds, he starts to chuckle, remembering the rivalry between the two bosses at the time and reflecting on the incredible scenes celebrating with the Chelsea fans at one end of the Millennium Stadium.

‘Whenever I think of that final in 2005, I have nothing but happy memories,’ recalls Joe, a lifelong Blue, when speaking exclusively to us ahead of Sunday’s cup final. ‘Especially celebrating on the pitch after the game with the Chelsea fans.

‘The game itself was well balanced between two pretty evenly matched teams. Liverpool scored really early on but we didn’t panic and got back into the game. Then it swung in our favour in a game that really had it all.

‘I remember going off towards the end of the game and then it went into extra time. It was hard being on the sidelines because you know you can’t help the team anymore, so you’re just watching on and hoping the lads get it over the line.

‘What I will say though, is that I thought playing that day in Cardiff was one of the best atmospheres I’d ever experienced. It was a February afternoon with the roof on and I think that helped the atmosphere from both sides.

‘Wembley is amazing and has all that mystique and charm but I have to say, that era of playing finals at Cardiff was really quite special too. The atmosphere was something else.

‘Then you had a sort of rivalry between Rafa [Benitez] and Jose which added to the narrative of the final too. Adding in both sets of fans, well there’s a rivalry there that helps add the spice whenever the two teams played.

‘It was a really enjoyable era to play in those Liverpool vs Chelsea fixtures. You had the managers at loggerheads, then you had the Lampard v Gerrard debate, Terry and Carragher – all these additional battles that really made it go from being a normal Premier League game to one of the best rivalries of that time.

'It’s a good rivalry though and having played for both clubs, I know that both the Chelsea and Liverpool fans are ridiculously passionate for their clubs and both enjoy getting one over the other.’

Cole is a man who is well-versed in explaining how the current crop of players will be feeling ahead of the game.

As well as the 2005 League Cup final, the Paddington native has also been involved in a pair of successful FA Cup finals as well as being a finalist in the Champions League with the Blues in 2008.

One question put to our former No.10 was how the players would be preparing for Sunday’s tie and how he would cope with the pressures of such big games…

‘Obviously, these are huge games and you have that extra bit of excitement in the build-up, but I think it’s crucial you treat it as close to a normal game as possible in terms of your preparation,’ added the former England international.

‘That’s what I tried to do before each final during my playing career. I remember in 2005, I prepared as I would do for a normal away game and that helped me. I knew that the period before the game was for the fans to enjoy – I had mates at the match – while for us players, it was just about being as focused and mentally switched on to the task at hand as physically possible.

‘We had a team meeting and everyone was reminded of their jobs for the game and it was just about keeping the same routine and not letting the occasion get to us.

‘I must admit though, I did turn the phone off a few hours before the game to avoid any additional distractions from the outside!’

Turning the focus to the current day, Joe feels there are similarities between the Mourinho class of 2005 and Pochettino’s fledglings of today.

Mourinho’s first trophy as Blues boss was the League Cup – incidentally against Liverpool – and Cole hopes Pochettino can follow suit. Joe is a huge fan of the work our current head coach is doing and believes he can cement himself in the history books of the club by lifting a trophy in his first season in charge.

‘There are definitely similarities between the situation now and when we won the League Cup in 2005,’ our former midfielder stated towards the end of our interview.

‘It was the first chance of winning a trophy under Jose [Mourinho] and he then went on and had huge success with Chelsea. Obviously, there is a chance of a first trophy for the new ownership group and for [Mauricio] Pochettino.

‘I think people can be very quick to compare and we perhaps shouldn’t do that, as this team is a lot younger with less experience than that Chelsea side, and obviously, Liverpool are flying at the moment.

‘What I can see with this current team is so much ‘growth’ still to come, with such talented players. Pochettino is doing a very good job and the players are improving all the time. I go to every game unless I’m working, and I can see the side growing.

'It would be a massive boost for us if we were to win this trophy and then who knows where that could lead to.

‘Let’s not mince our words, of course, finishing in the top four or whatever to reach the Champions League is great, but what you’re remembered for at the end of your career is winning silverware.

'The players will want to lift trophies and experience those incredible moments. You remember the days you go to Wembley and win trophies, not the seasons you finished second or third and qualified for Europe.

‘The fans will certainly want a trophy to celebrate and Sunday is a huge opportunity for that. I can’t wait to watch what I have no doubt will be a thrilling cup final.’