Lawrenson: Cup win could kick-start trophy glut

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Mark Lawrenson, a three-time league cup winner with Liverpool, is adamant success in Sunday’s Carling Cup final could be the first of many.

Without a trophy in six years, The Reds take on Championship side Cardiff City in the club’s first appearance at the new Wembley.

After a turbulent spell under the stewardship of Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish has takent the club from 12th in the league to a domestic final that could confirm European participation for next season, the first of many successes under the Scot predicts Lawrenson.

“People might say it is only the Carling Cup, but it is still a trophy,” Lawrenson said. “It would be the Reds' first for six years, and Dalglish's first since he returned as manager at the start of 2011.

“Dalglish knows it would act as a launchpad.

“within a couple of years. And it worked for Liverpool in 2001 too.

“They had to scrap to beat Birmingham City on penalties in the League Cup final that year in a game they could easily have lost, and they ended up winning two more trophies that season - the FA Cup and Uefa Cup - and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.

“Liverpool are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they have a home tie against Stoke City. If they beat Cardiff at the weekend, they will be thinking "right, come on - we can go again".

”The other leg of the "treble" for Liverpool this season would be finishing fourth in the Premier League to qualify for the Champions League, but I don't see that happening.

One of those with a foot in both camps is Craig Bellamy, expected to play for Liverpool in attack on Sunday, having spent lasts season on loan at Cardiff, the club he followed as a boy.

Bellamy’s fitness has often dictated whether he’s able to begin games from the start, but Lawrenson believes this is the ideal stage for the Welshman.

“Bellamy has to play, but Dalglish has to decide where to utilise him - maybe on the left, but that is where Stewart Downing had one of his better games of the season last week against Brighton,” he said.

“Not only does he know them well because he played for them last season, but he also gives you blistering pace that will hurt the Welsh side, even if they try to pack the midfield and defend deep.

“But Bellamy is not certain to start and, in fact, one of the big positives for Dalglish is that, since the summer, there has been real competition for places in his side.”

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