Kenny Dalglish eyes derby Cup clash

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish hopes local rivals Everton can join them for an all-Merseyside FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month.

Updated: March 19, 2012 12:50 IST
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Liverpool: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish hopes local rivals Everton can join them for an all-Merseyside FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month.

League Cup winners Liverpool booked their second visit of the season to Wembley with a 2-1 quarter-final win over Stoke at Anfield here on Sunday.

Soon afterwards the semi-final draw was made and it meant Liverpool would be facing Everton provided the team from the other side of Stanley Park beat Sunderland in a last eight replay next week.

The city rivals have not met at Wembley since Liverpool beat Everton 3-2 to win the 1989 FA Cup final played out against the backdrop of the tragedy that was the Hillsborough disaster.

This year's Wembley semi-finals are scheduled to be played on the weekend of April 14 and 15, the latter date being exactly 23 years since the death of 96 Liverpool fans at the Sheffield ground.

Liverpool have never played on April 15 since and Dalglish, who was in his first spell as Reds manager when the disaster happened, said: "We won't play on the 15th."

"The FA and UEFA have always been exemplary and very supportive, and that's great credit to them," the Liverpool and Scotland great added.

"We've never played on the 15th before, have we? So there you are. Why would they change now?"

As for the prospect of a derby Cup semi-final, Dalglish said: "For us as the people of Merseyside it would be a game to be proud. If it is a Merseyside one then fine but it is going to be a difficult one for Everton."

"Merseyside will be hoping Everton get through to give them a day out again. But it is a difficult place to go Sunderland to get a result but that's not our problem, that's theirs to sort out for themselves."

After claiming the League Cup with victory over Cardiff City in the final at Wembley, Dalglish believes their performance against Stoke proves they are not content with just one trip to the showpiece stadium this year.

"It is the same incentive for everybody to get to Wembley and play at Wembley," he said. "We were never any less hungry for it or that performance would have showed that."

"We know we have got either Everton or Sunderland but the most important thing is that we got there."

"It is going to be a difficult game no matter who it is."

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, curling the ball into the bottom corner after a neat one-two with Maxi Rodriguez.

It took Stoke just three minutes to equaliser with former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch nodding in Matthew Etherington's corner before Stewart Downing's second-half effort, just his second goal for Liverpool, secured victory.

"I think it was a fantastic performance in many ways for us," Dalglish added. "It showed what it meant to them to get through this tie."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis praised his team's supporters, some of whom have followed the Potters on their Europa League travels, after what was their fourth away tie of this season's FA Cup.

Now he is hoping they can inspire Stoke to wins in the final few games of the Premier League season even though the Potters are 14 points above the drop zone and are now just four adrift of Pulis's 40-point safety target.

"When you're playing against one of the top teams in the country, they punish you," Pulis said as he reflected on the Cup exit of Stoke, last season's beaten finalists. "We move on and that's what we have to do."

"The supporters have been the bedrock of what this football club has done over the four or five years. We need them to be with us and get behind us for the last few home games. We still need to get the 40 points."

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