Steven Gerrard proud to lead Liverpool out at Wembley
Thursday 12 April 2012
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has told his players to play the match and not the occasion when they meet Everton in this weekend's FA Cup semi-final, but has admitted to a sense of pride both personally and for the city.
The two near-neighbours last met at Wembley in 1989 and, with the game coinciding with the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, there is added poignancy.
Liverpool have beaten the Toffees twice this season - and won the Carling Cup at Wembley in February - but Gerrard knows he and his players cannot allow their focus to drop.
"It's a proud day for me to lead the lads out at Wembley again and it's a proud day for the city," said the England international.
"It's a massive game and it's been a long time since Liverpool played Everton at Wembley so it's a fantastic occasion for the supporters.
"It's another important game for us players, we need to try and forget it's Everton and just focus on a really tough game on the day.
"We realise that it's important not to get ahead of ourselves.
"Although the game is at Wembley, it's still only a semi-final.
"There's still one massive hurdle to get over before we can get to the final.
"We still believe we can beat anyone, Everton included.
"What we have to do is make sure we're ready and focused and we concentrate on the game rather than the occasion."
Last month Gerrard became the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in a Merseyside derby at Anfield since Fred Howe in 1935.
That result - and Tuesday's last-gasp win at Blackburn - will give the side a boost going in to Saturday' game.
"We've beaten Everton twice this year so that should give us belief and confidence but we need to perform to the same levels at Wembley to get the same result," Gerrard added on liverpoolfc.tv.
"We believe that we have the players in our squad capable of doing the job on the day but we all need to deliver good performances - all the players.
"To reach two major cup finals in the same season would be a fantastic achievement."
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