Football

Gerrard relishing Wembley final

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is relishing the opportunity to lead his side out at Wembley for the first time in his 14-year Anfield career when facing Cardiff City in next month's Carling Cup final.

Gerrard struck his second penalty of the semi-final against Manchester City to draw Liverpool level in the second-leg Wednesday night following Nigel de Jong's opener.

Edin Dzeko's tap in looked to have handed the visitors the advantage, but Craig Bellamy 74th minute goal sent The Reds through.

The aggregate win sets up a final with Cardiff, the club's first appearance at the home of football for 16 years, and one that Gerrard feels has been a long-time coming.

"It's been too long for this club to not be in a major cup final, so it's nice to finally get there," Gerrard told reporters.

"It's going to be superb for myself. I've led the boys out at Cardiff before but to lead them out at the new Wembley stadium is going to be a special occasion for myself.

"It was a tough game but we were brave, we were bold and we attacked, and we got our reward.

"A big 'well done' to everyone who has taken part in the Carling Cup so far but the key message now is that it's not done."

Kenny Dalglish's side will start as favourites against the Championship opposition, and Gerrard is wary of not taking The Bluesbirds lightly.

Arsenal were expected to role over Birmingham City in last year's final, only for The Blues to snatch the win late on, prior to being relegated from the Premier League.

"Arsenal slipped up against Birmingham last year when they were massive favourites," he warned.

"I'm sure we'll be massive favourites but we've got to show Cardiff respect and put in the kind of performance we put in last night.

"It's going to be the game of their lives. They're going to be right up for it.

"They are going to play at a level they've not played at before so it's important that we don't drop our standards.

"We've got to raise our game and if we do, I'm sure we can lift the cup."

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Topics:
Football
Championship
League Cup
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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