Downing hopes for Wembley starting place

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing is hoping that his fine display during the 6-1 win over Brighton on Sunday will help him cement a starting place for next weekend, reports.

The Reds travel to Wembley to face Cardiff City on Sunday in the Carling Cup final, which presents the opportunity for Liverpool to win their first trophy since 2006. Downing set the Reds on the way to FA Cup glory this weekend, setting up a goal for Andy Carroll and providing a constant threat down the Liverpool left. When at Middlesbrough, Downing was an unused substitute in the 2004 Carling Cup final against Bolton and does not want the same against Cardiff.

Downing said: ‘Competition for places is tough here. I’m sure it’s great for the manager and it gives him a headache. We have got options all over the park, everyone wants to play in the starting XI, and it’s good for the club. We’ve got a good week to prepare for the Carling Cup final now. We will prepare well and do everything right. Cardiff won’t be an easy game, finals never are, and we will prepare right and make sure we do the business on the day.’

Downing was happy with his performance against Brighton, as well as linking up superbly with left-back Jose Enrique, and wants to recapture that partnership against Cardiff. The summer signing from Aston Villa has been criticised from some sections of Liverpool, but boss Kenny Dalglish is happy with Downing’s work so far and is expected to start him against the South Wales side on Sunday.

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