thumbnail Hello,

The Spaniard believes that sealing a domestic double with victory over Chelsea on Saturday can help his team-mates forget about their failure to secure a top-four finish

EXCLUSIVE
By Francisco Delgado

Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes that lifting the FA Cup can ease the pain of missing out on Champions League qualification.

Despite having the opportunity to seal a domestic cup double, after lifting the League Cup in February, with victory over Chelsea on Saturday, the Reds have slumped to a disappointing eighth in the Premier League.

But the Spaniard insists that a win at Wembley will make up for failure to achieve the Merseyside outfit's pre-season target of a top-four finish.

Speaking exclusively to Goal.com, he said: "I see a lot of excitement among the fans because we have a great chance of pulling off an historic double in English football.

"It's true that we are disappointed with not having won a Champions League place for next season, but I think the pain will be lessened by winning two titles in the cups. However, we know that we should have had a better season in the Premier League.

"I expect an even match but I hope there isn't the same tension that we experienced in the Carling Cup with extra time and penalties.

"Returning to Wembley and winning a second cup final in the same season won't be easy and less so in England, but that's our aim going into the game on Saturday."

The Spaniard also expressed his belief that neither side has the advantage in the Wembley showpiece, despite the Blues' run of good form under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo highlighted by their recent Champion League semi-final victory over Barcelona.

"I insist that there is no favourite for Saturday. The two teams are evenly matched and either can win it," he continued.

"Nobody can deny that Chelsea have improved a lot in recent times but that will have no bearing. On Saturday the circumstances will be different and the chances will be equal.

"The two teams are under pressure because it's a big final and we are two clubs with a lot of history, and therefore both of us will be obliged to win the title. But that responsibility is what every player likes.

"Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres are scoring goals, but so too is Luis Suarez. In the attacking aspect I think the final will be very even.

"I know Andy Carroll well and he is clearly improving. Strikers shouldn't be judged only by goals but also by the work they do for others. And with Carroll's work, lots of chances are created for his team-mates.

"I don't expect an end-to-end game from the first whistle, but a tactical and tiring match. And logically, the one who goes ahead will have a bigger chance of winning.

"Stopping players like the Chelsea strikers and those attacking from behind won't be an easy task, but we have done it before and this Liverpool side is capable of winning the final."

The 26-year-old went on to insist that he is glad to have joined the Reds, despite former club Newcastle challenging for a top-four spot.

He added: "Personally I am happy because I left Newcastle to fight for titles and in my first year I have the opportunity to win two - and playing as a starter."

Related

From the web