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Lucas eyes Wembley final after missing out in 2012

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Lucas Leiva has set his sights on Wembley glory in the League Cup this season, having cruelly missed the final through injury three years ago.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 16, 2014: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli celebrates scoring the first goal against PFC Ludogorets Razgrad with team-mates Fabio Borini, Lucas Leiva and Raheem Sterling during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 28-year-old has been in superb form since regaining his place in the Liverpool side earlier this season, and is a big reason for their improved run of form since December.

He has added steel, passion and defensive quality in his defensive midfield role, and the only game the Reds have lost in their last 16 matches, away to Manchester United, saw Lucas start proceedings on the bench.

Brendan Rodgers’ side face Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final second-leg tonight, and are also still in the FA Cup, and both competitions are genuine chances of silverware this season.

The last trophy the Reds won, the League Cup under Kenny Dalglish in 2012, saw Lucas miss the final because of a serious knee injury suffered earlier on in the competition against tonight’s opponents.

He had been in similarly influential form back then too, and the injury curtailed both his career and Liverpool’s progress under Dalglish.

The Brazilian is looking for things to be different this time around, however, and is eyeing up a victory over Chelsea and a place in the final.

“The manager spoke to us before the first game and said it is always the first trophy that helps you start something. He is looking for that first medal and first trophy to put a mark on the group,” he told Liverpool’s official website.

“Of course we were fantastic in the Premier League last season but at the end we didn’t win. This group I think deserves something good and a medal to show how hard it works, and for the fans as well as they’ve been incredible for the team.”

It would certainly be the ideal way to help banish the horrid memories Lucas has of that 2011/12 campaign, and having been written off so often in the years since, it would represent an amazing turnaround in fortunes for the 24-time capped Brazil international.

Not only that, but the fact that tonight’s clash at Stamford Bridge is the venue of his aforementioned injury would make it even more fitting if Rodgers’ men did prevail.

The likeable midfielder also spoke about a text message he received from captain Steven Gerrard just prior to that 2012 final triumph against Cardiff City, and how he hopes it comes to fruition.

“I remember when we were on our way to the stadium I was a little bit down because I wanted to be on the pitch. I remember Stevie sending me a text which said, ‘Don’t worry, we will get here again’.

“It is something that I always remember and hopefully we will make that come true. That would be special. I have never played at Wembley and it is something that I would like to do and in a final would be brilliant.”

Lucas is now the Reds’ second-longest serving player, behind Gerrard, and the service he has given Liverpool Football Club means he is hugely deserving of that elusive first trophy at Anfield.

His future may come into question in the summer, and if he was to move on after eight impressive years on Merseyside, a trophy in his final season would be a fitting goodbye gift.

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