Owen: Liverpool can win

Michael Owen, hero for Liverpool at Cardiff in the FA Cup victory over
Arsenal in the treble-winning season, has been talking about
Liverpool’s chances against Chelsea in the League Cup Final.

Talking to the BBC, Owen compared the build up to this game to those
against Arsenal (FA Cup) and Manchester United (League Cup) that saw
Owen receive winners’ medals. "It looks like Chelsea are favourites,
but so were Manchester United and so were Arsenal, so obviously they
still have a very good chance."

Owen, now a Real Madrid player, also received a winners; medal in 2001
as an unused sub against Birmingham. "It’s a fantastic occasion. I’ve
been to Cardiff a few times and won a couple of League Cup medals. It’s
certainly a big game in the calendar. There’s no better day out than
going to a cup final. I’m sure all the lads are looking forward to it.
But from Liverpool’s point of view, I don’t think they could have
picked much harder opposition than Chelsea!"

Continue reading Owen: Liverpool can win

Gerrard looking forward to Cardiff

Steven Gerrard will lead Liverpool out at Cardiff tomorrow, hoping to
bring his total of League Cup medals to three. He’s also fully aware
how important his own role will be at the Millennium Stadium: "Chelsea
play three in midfield, it is their big strength with Lampard at the
centre of things and they control games from there and feed their
excellent front players. That is how they have worked all season so it
is important that come Sunday we dominate midfield because that will
have a big, big say in the outcome."

Gerrard feels that there may be a  kick in the tail of a Chelsea
team hurt by two successive cup defeats. He said, "Chelsea are a good
side and they could be like a wounded animal after what has happened to
them. I just hope it is not against us but they save the backlash for
the week after. But their confidence may well be a bit down after two
defeats in a week and people will say it is a good time to play them.
But a good side usually bounces back after being beaten once, and
certainly after two defeats. It doesn’t matter what has happened to
Chelsea in the past week, we are still the underdogs. That puts a lot
more pressure on Chelsea which is what we like.

"If you look at the table it shows they are more consistent than us,
but come the final all that goes out of the window. It’s a one-off game
and whoever plays the best will control the game."

Gerrard has been made captain since his last winner’s medal, and is
hoping to get the chance to lift the trophy. "I have been at Liverpool
since I was eight and I have always dreamed of playing in cup finals,
and to be the captain makes it that extra special. Now I am looking for
a good team performance and then I will be lifting the trophy come
Sunday afternoon. Cardiff has been a great place for us, we have won
all our important finals there and the fans love the place. Those fans
have proved to be the best in the business and they love going to
Cardiff and I hope they will see the victory they want."

And Liverpool fans are hoping that it’s the start of what’s needed to bring success in other competitions.

Continue reading Gerrard looking forward to Cardiff

Joe Cole warns Liverpool.

Joe Cole has announced to any listening Liverpool players and fans that
he and his team-mates are hungry for silverware and intend to win
tomorrow. Ignoring the possibility that Liverpool’s squad were also
hungry for trophies, the Chelsea part-timer spoke to the press about
the mentality behind his team.

"In one of the first meetings we had with the manager, he said that
individually the squad had not won anything much. I think that was good
thing to say, because it kept everyone’s feet on the floor. We know we
haven’t won anything as individuals – but with this team we could win
everything. Being a hungry player is a massive thing Jose looks for."

Cole, maybe not hungry enough due to a lack of many appearance over 90
minutes, gave his view about why those who are picked are fairly young:
"Chelsea could go out and buy the big superstars of 28, 29 and 30 who
have been there and done it all. But maybe Jose prefers the younger
players who have fire in their belly and want to do well."

Cole pointed to games at Blackburn, Everton and Liverpool as being
games where they had to "dig in" for a result. "We have been accused of
most of things this season, but nobody can say we don’t dig in and
fight for each other. The prominence of centre-half John Terry and the
extra players we’ve brought in over the years has made us a solid team.
But it was only three or four years ago that we were seen as a soft
touch. We have improved a lot in that respect."

Arsenal went on to win the league last season after a week of negative
cup matches, but Cole thinks that the defeats against Newcastle and
Barcelona in the last week were freaks. "There is no doubt in this
squad,look at the games we’ve played in the last week and look at how
how we lost – Newcastle was down to a freakish injury, and the
Barcelona game turned on a bad decision by the referee to send off
Didier Drogba in the second half." Another attack on a referee from

If Chelsea take nothing else this year, they’re certainly having a good
try at taking the most arrogant team in Europe title from Manchester

Cole – who of course may not even get a game tomorrow – does point out
that he’s actually won nothing at professional level. "I’ve only ever
won the FA Youth Cup in my career, and there are a lot of us who have
not won anything. We are coming to an age where we are expected to be
winning trophies, and that’s what will drive us on. It’s not a pressure
for us; we are just so excited about the possibility of winning our
first trophy."

A player who still fails to live up to the exciting prospect he seemed
to be when he was a well-mannered West Ham youngster, is certainly
trying to be as boastful as possible. "I still feel Chelsea could be
the greatest club in the world,"

Finding excuses for last season failure to win anything by an
already-expensively assembled squad even at the time, he claims:
"Everything is right for us to win trophies, and we are ready to win
them now – whereas last year we didn’t have the strong mentality needed
to do that. Now we are ready. I have talked about winning the Carling
Cup with the other lads. We try to imagine what it will be like to lift
the trophy and be running around Cardiff with it. We even talk about
who is going where in the line should we win it!"

Cole reckons he’s now getting better – "Over this season I have shown
people I can be responsible and I’ve learned so much from the boss. He
doesn’t criticise for nothing. I don’t think that it did me any harm at
all. I have taken everything on board and learned from it. But I have
gone past the point where I am worried about what anybody thinks of me.
I just want to turn up and play."

Talking about being substituted: "It is frustrating for any player to get substituted – but I’m not complaining," he complained.

"If I was absolutely on fire in one game I don’t think the boss would
substitute me. If I’m not in the team tomorrow then I will be on the
bench waiting for my chance."

Cole then went on about how he sees himself being a coach when he grows up.
Continue reading Joe Cole warns Liverpool.

Thanks youngsters – Rafa

Reds boss Rafael Benitez will play his big-name players in tomorrow’s
Carling Cup Final – but felt he must let the young players know just
how much he recognises the fact that it was them that got Liverpool
through all the earlier round – including wins against Premiership
teams Middlesbrough and Spurs.
He said: "The problem is we can only have 16 players in the squad. In
the Champions League you have 18, so with Gerrard, Morientes and
Pellegrino back it means I have to leave a lot out. It is a great pity
we cannot include all of the young players who helped us get to the
final. I have to tell some of them they are not involved. It is
difficult but it is my responsibility and we must be professional and
Rafa continued: "I don’t think we can get them medals but if we win I
will say thank you to them all personally because they are the reason
we have reached this final."

Continue reading Thanks youngsters – Rafa