Pepe Reina: Failure is not an option for Liverpool in League Cup final

The Anfield club face Cardiff City at Wembley on Sunday and the Spaniard, who is the only squad member to have featured in every round, has issued a rallying cry to his team

By Francisco Delgado

Pepe Reina has insisted that failure is not an option ahead of Sunday's League Cup final against Cardiff City as Liverpool attempt to win their first trophy since 2006.

The Spanish goalkeeper saved three out of four penalties at the Millennium Stadium in the FA Cup win over West Ham six years ago and is looking forward to his first Wembley appearance with the club.

He told "When you are in a final they have to be won and that is our mission at Wembley on Sunday.

"Six years without a title is too long for a club like Liverpool. We cannot fail to win this final.

"I came to Liverpool dreaming of moments like this: to be able to play in finals and winning titles. I've lived positive experiences already and want to repeat that this Sunday.

"There will be people who do not give too much importance to the Carling Cup but it is an official major tournament and you do not always have chances of reaching the final; therefore, we want to seize the moment.

"Six years without a title is too long for a club like Liverpool. We cannot fail to win this final"

- Pepe Reina

"We are the favourites against Cardiff because of the fact we play in different leagues. This is true, but in one match, we know anything can happen."

Reina may be right to show caution, as the Bluebirds have won nine of their 12 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions.

“We must leave the field having put in the same effort as if we had just faced Manchester United," he added.

"Playing in a stadium such as Wembley is a pleasure. The last time I played there was with Spain and I lost against England. Now I have a good opportunity to enjoy winning a title there, although I repeat - it will not be easy."

The 29-year-old has been at the heart of the Liverpool revival under Kenny Dalglish – a key part of a defence that is bettered only by Manchester City in the Premier League.

"In recent weeks, Liverpool has improved our game, even though we lost at Old Trafford," said the goalkeeper.

"We arrive with confidence to this final and we know that if we win, our morale will be great for the rest of the season.

"These days I have just seen very concentrated players and at a very high level of training. It is normal. All we want is to play this game and we will make it difficult for our head coach making the choice of players for playing."

Reina believes victory on Sunday would be special, in particular, for Dalglish as fans reap the initial rewards of the legendary Scot’s project at the club.

"Kenny Dalglish is excited about the possibility to lift the Cup. For him the match is also special because he took the team while it was going through some tough times and step by step we are taking the type of successful roads that really belong to this club.

“The coach is a key figure in the recovery of the team.

"The people are very identified with us. With these fans, we can go anywhere and we want to dedicate the title to them on Sunday if things go well

"About our rivals Cardiff, we have good references. We know they are a strong team that does not give up, with players who have played Premier League and who works very well at set-pieces. We must be very careful about this.

"What will be the key to the game? We must keep our concentration from the first minute and go ahead early on. Once we are ahead on the scoreboard, we can manage the pace of the game from then on."

Liverpool have a successful tradition against lower-tier sides in the League Cup final. They beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in 1995 and Birmingham City on penalties to win the 2001 tournament.