Cups runneth over for Liverpool defender
Published 15:08 20/02/12 By MirrorFootball
Defender Jose Enrique believes Liverpool's cup exploits have set the stage for a strong finish on all fronts.
The Reds yesterday thrashed Brighton 6-1 to book an FA Cup quarter-final with Stoke and to warm up perfectly for next week's Carling Cup final showdown with Cardiff.
Yet as well as double Wembley glory, Enrique also has his sights on Champions League football next year and is confident of securing a top-four Barclays Premier League finish.
The Spanish left-back, 26, said: "At the moment we are doing well.
"We are in one final and the quarter-finals in another cup, and I think in the league we are just four points behind the Champions League teams.
"We have had many games this year we haven't won but we have had many new players. With every game we play better together.
"I think it is good we are in the next round. We've got Stoke at home and we've got a good chance of getting into another final.
"Now we will prepare to play Cardiff. Everyone thinks because we're playing against a Championship team it will be an easy game but we know it's going to be hard."
Liverpool's home form has hampered their league challenge this term with Kenny Dalglish's men, although unbeaten at Anfield, drawing eight of their 12 games.
There were few signs of those problems yesterday as they ran rampant against Championship Brighton, although they did benefit from three own goals.
Kazenga LuaLua struck a superb equaliser for the Seagulls after Martin Skrtel's early opener but the visitors capitulated following Liam Bridcutt's first own goal just before half-time.
The impressive Andy Carroll struck the Reds' third before Bridcutt diverted into his own net again.
Lewis Dunk then scored at the wrong end when he made a spectacular mess of a clearance and Luis Suarez, after missing a penalty, completed the rout.
Liverpool will now head to Wembley in good heart as they seek their first trophy since 2006.
Enrique, who joined the club from Newcastle last summer, said: "It is the first game we have scored many goals and of course it is great.
"I think it is good for confidence for next week because it is really important, the final, and we have to win that.
"We know this season we haven't scored many goals in the league games, so this is good for us.
"In football every week changes - if you lose next week this means nothing.
"You have to think in the future and that is why this game is confidence for the next one. That is how we have to think now."
Midfielder Jordan Henderson, who impressed in his role on the right, also expects the momentum to continue.
The 21-year-old has had a difficult season since his high-profile £16million move from Sunderland but hopes he has done enough to retain a place for next week.
Henderson said: "It was important we came out and did it right. We did that and everyone is delighted.
"A few people got on the scoresheet, everyone is full of confidence and hopefully we can take that into the game next week.
"Brighton are a good team who played some good football.
"We had done our homework on them and knew what they were about.
"They made it difficult for us at first but once we got a couple of goals it was easier.
"A lot of people want to play (next week) and some will be disappointed but I am sure everyone will be training really hard and trying to get in that starting XI for Sunday."