Cup glory can inspire league success: Enrique

Jose Enrique believes that cup success can kick-start Liverpool's attempts to return to the top as he prepares to take on Brighton in the FA Cup fifth round at Anfield.

Updated: February 18, 2012 12:47 IST
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Liverpool: Jose Enrique believes that cup success can kick-start Liverpool's attempts to return to the top as his team prepares to take on Brighton in the FA Cup fifth round at Anfield.

Kenny Dalglish's side are already in the League Cup final, facing another Championship club, Cardiff, at Wembley at the end of the month.

Victory over Gus Poyet's team on Sunday will take them into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup as they look to end their trophy drought.

The Reds have not won any silverware since lifting the FA Cup in 2006 and failing to win anything this season would equal their longest run without a trophy since 1973.

The Anfield club are four points adrift of fourth place as they look to avoid a third successive season out of the Champions League and several of their recent signings, such as Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson, have come in for criticism.

Spanish defender Enrique, 26, who joined from Newcastle last summer, accepts that returning to Europe's top competition is the major priority.

But he feels that winning both cup competitions would be a significant step in Liverpool's development.

"I'm really happy already because we're in a final and I have never played in one," Enrique said. "Of course, if we can play in another one it's even more of a dream."

"This club has big history but it's not just history - we have good players now, they (the owners) want to spend money on players and want to buy good players."

"We have a really good team already but they want to make it better and that's why I came here."

"I hope it's the start of something special. That's why I came here and why many players came here this season."

"We came because we believe this club is going up and trying to be at the top again. Liverpool have to be there."

"I remember I heard someone say that the Champions League without Liverpool is not the same and I think that's the truth."

"Liverpool are always there. It's a few years we've not been there and we have to try and be there again."

The Anfield club have already beaten Brighton this year, winning 2-1 in the League Cup at the Amex Stadium in September.

But last season they were beaten in the League Cup by Northampton at home and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley and Reading in 2008 and 2010 and Enrique insists they will not take the visitors lightly.

"It's good that we're at home but they have a good team and a great manager, so we have to be careful," Enrique said.

"If we don't give 100 per cent we're in trouble."

The Reds are boosted by the return of Argentina winger Maxi Rodriguez, who has been sidelined with a foot problem.

Brighton's progress under Poyet has been impressive with the Uruguayan guiding the south coast club out of League One and onto the fringes of the Championship play-off places.

The victory over Newcastle United in the last round confirmed their threat and Poyet sees the visit to Anfield as an opportunity for his players to demonstrate whether they can consolidate their place in his future plans.

"I'm going to learn a lot about my players," he said. "When we're talking about in the next few years whatever is coming we want to go to the Premier League."

"This will test which players are able to play in the Premier League. Sometimes you have doubts. Sometimes you think you know one of them can go and perform against the best and then you go and play and they don't."

"I've got an idea now that if in the next few years we're going to go up which players are going to play in the Premier League."

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