Lucas Leiva targets Wembley appearance for Liverpool

 

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva insists the lure of a Wembley final is all the motivation required as they head to Chelsea for a Carling Cup quarter-final tonight.

The Reds' last piece of silverware came when they beat West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Liverpool's last appearance at Wembley came a decade before that when they were beaten by Manchester United in the final.

"You can see from the first game we played in the Carling Cup (at League One strugglers Exeter) we take the competition really seriously," said Brazil international Lucas.

"We want to go to Wembley. We have a tough match away again - we haven't played at home (this season) in the Carling Cup.

"If we get through to the semi-final it will show how committed we are with this club.

"This kind of match you don't need any extra motivation because it is a big game, a quarter-final, and it is a chance to win a trophy."

Manager Kenny Dalglish is still unhappy about the scheduling of the tie just two days after Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City.

Lucas, who put in a man-of-the-match display against Roberto Mancini's side, may be required again at Stamford Bridge.

He is optimistic, however, that despite any fatigue the players will go into the game confident having beaten Chelsea just over a week ago.

"As the manager said, when we saw the draw it is a bit unfair because we only have 24 hours off in between," said the 24-year-old.

"It is not the best for recovery but I think we have a very good staff and they will do everything we need to be 100% in the next game.

"No-one will be fresh for that game, that is for sure, but we will do our best to get ready and get another victory to get to the semi-final."

Dalglish was so angry over the scheduling of the match, and the inflexibility of the Premier League, Football League and Sky television, that he warned supporters to think carefully about buying tickets for the game as he was considering playing a youth team.

With the likes of Maxi Rodriguez, scorer in the 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge the weekend before last, £35million striker Andy Carroll, veterans Craig Bellamy and Jamie Carragher and highly-rated England Under-21 international Martin Kelly all set to play, Liverpool have plenty of depth.

But Dalglish felt like he had to make a point to highlight the issue.

"We're not the first team that has been asked to play Sunday/Tuesday and I don't think we will be the last," said the Reds boss.

"The reason why we mentioned the fans is because they are more important to us than anyone else.

"We didn't want them to spend money on tickets - as other punters (at other clubs) have done travelling all over Europe - to see a youth team play.

"We didn't want any comeback from that. We would never want to be accused of being disrespectful of the people who are fantastically supportive to us.

"We didn't want anyone to come back and say 'You never told us'."

PA

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