Bellamy determined to go through the pain barrier


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Craig Bellamy is determined to make it into the Liverpool side that starts against his hometown and former club Cardiff City in Sunday's Carling Cup final, embarking on a course of injections to solve the back spasm problem which kept him out of Kenny Dalglish's squad last weekend.

For Bellamy, Liverpool's first final in six years would pit him for the first time against the club he sought to lift into the Premier League last season when on loan from Manchester City, If he scores – as he did in the semi-final second leg against Manchester City, which took Liverpool back to Wembley for the first time in 16 years – he will not be celebrating.

"I certainly won't," he said yesterday. "I tried not to, against Man City. I tried to hold myself back. Really, I didn't celebrate that much, but in the occasion and the moment you get a little bit carried away. But I have to be on the pitch first and foremost before I think about scoring."

The 32-year-old, whose contribution recently led Ian Rush to suggest that he might be Liverpool's best buy for years, revealed that it was his initial footballing ambition simply to play for Sunday's opponents – and he replied robustly yesterday when it was put to him that his move to Cardiff City had been an enforced one last season.

"I wanted to go and do it," he retorted. "I fulfilled a dream by playing there. If you'd have asked me even a year ago that if Cardiff City were in a final a year later, who would I be playing for, I'd be saying Cardiff."

Of his back problems, he said: "My fitness is fine. My back spasmed up after I came on against Manchester United, and it just got a little bit worse during the week instead of improving.

"The manager said, 'Look, if you need an injection get it done now, because we have a lot of games coming up'. It's such a busy period, so get it sorted just in case. I start training on Thursday, so I'm fine at the moment."

Improbably, Bellamy insisted that winning his first competitive trophy in England – he won the 2005 Scottish Cup with Celtic – would make no difference to him. "None. Honestly. If I win, I win. If I don't, I don't. I will not lose one second of sleep over it. Is my career defined by trophies? No. I'm very fortunate to play this game, I've achieved more than I set out to achieve.

"Off the top of my head, I don't know where my Scottish Cup medal is.

"I just set out to win every game I play in, and if I win trophies because of that, then great."