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Saturday 25 February 2012

Dalglish: We must take Carling Cup chance

Liverpool boss wants final to mark the start of something special at Anfield

Liverpool reached the Carling Cup final after defeating Manchester City in the semis

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has called on his players to start something big by winning the Carling Cup final on Sunday.

The Reds take on Championship side Cardiff at Wembley Stadium aiming to win their first piece of silverware since the FA Cup in 2006.

And Dalglish says he wants to make the match the springboard for Liverpool to finish the season strongly.

"We can't afford to relax, because this could be a decent season for everybody"
- Kenny Dalglish

"Yes, winning the trophy can be a big thing for the club, and you can be proud of that achievement, because every football club that wins a trophy is making a bigger name for itself," said Dalglish.

"But we have still got a huge opportunity in front of us to make the season relatively successful.

"We've got the Carling Cup final, the FA Cup sixth round at home to Stoke and some really important League matches coming up.

"We can't afford to relax, because this could be a decent season for everybody. We hope that there is still room for improvement and we never stop trying to improve on where we are."

Tough route to final

Liverpool have beaten Exeter, Brighton, Stoke, Chelsea and Manchester City on the way to Wembley and Dalglish believes his team deserve their place in the showpiece occasion.

"For everybody that's connected with the football club it's just reward for the loyalty they have shown and the support they have shown it. For the players, it's an indication of how well they have done as well.

"We are going to do the best we possibly can. We'll continue to try to progress the club and move it forward."

Liverpool, who are aiming to win the League Cup for the eighth time, are odds-on favourites to record victory on Sunday against a side who are currently in the Championship play-off places and who have lost three of their last four matches.

"It's another great occasion for this incredible football club"
- Craig Bellamy

But Dalglish is not taking anything for granted and says his side must not allow themselves to think they have already won the trophy.

"It's not a foregone conclusion and we shouldn't be getting the mindset that it is going to be like that," he said.

"We are playing a team who has achieved every bit as much as we have in getting to the final. We will treat them with the utmost respect as we have done with everybody that we have played against."

Sunday will also be a special occasion for Liverpool's Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy, who will play against his hometown club.

"It will be a strange situation because it'll be the first time I've ever played against them," said Bellamy, who spent last season on loan at Cardiff.

"My father is a Cardiff fan and it's the club I used to go to when I was very young.

"I set one ambition to play for them and I was able to do that, and it's funny how football can work out sometimes. But I might not be on the pitch. We'll see if I'm playing or if I get on.

"It's a great final. It's another occasion for this incredible football club to add to the history and the medals and trophies we've already been able to amass over the years.

"It's another great occasion for us but it's an incredible occasion for Cardiff City."

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Key Points

  • Liverpool take on Cardiff in Sunday's Carling Cup final
  • Reds aiming to win trophy for eighth time
  • Boss Kenny Dalglish wants final to be springboard for further success