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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Liverpool FC v Stoke City preview: Kenny Dalglish keen to re-ignite FA Cup love affair

HAVING re-ignited Liverpool FC’s love affair with the League Cup, Kenny Dalglish now has his sights set on repeating the trick with the FA Cup.

Tomorrow’s visit of Stoke City represents the first time the Reds have been involved in the quarter-finals since they last lifted the famous trophy for the seventh time in 2006.

Arsenal, Barnsley, Everton, Reading and Manchester United have all inflicted early exits following that dramatic triumph over West Ham in Cardiff.
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final

But having safely overcome Oldham, United and Brighton this time around Dalglish’s men now find themselves on the brink of a quick return to Wembley.

Winning the League Cup three weeks ago was special but the FA Cup represents an opportunity to land a much bigger prize.

For so long it was the Holy Grail for Reds supporters before Bill Shankly finally got his hands on the trophy in 1965 and triggered an era of success.

“The FA Cup was lost for a long time here,” said Dalglish, who won it twice during his first spell in charge at Anfield in 1986 and 1989.

“It was Shanks’ first trophy that set the club rolling and that’s where the momentum started to build.

“For us, the FA Cup set us on a path that everyone that supported Liverpool either then and since has appreciated. Maybe it has a special place among the hearts of the fans.

“Probably the least respected competition is the one we showed a lot of respect towards and we got our reward by winning it.

“We go out to win every competition. We’ve been to Wembley, we enjoyed it and we want to go back. But everybody in the last eight has the same incentive.

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