Tuesday 12 December 2017

Downing vows to end Wembley hoodoo

LIVERPOOL winger Stewart Downing hopes it will be third time lucky as he heads to Wembley next week looking to avoid previous Carling Cup disappointments.

The 27-year-old has been to two finals, one of which ended in defeat and the other a victory in which he did not get on the pitch.

Liverpool's first final for five years, and their first trip to Wembley since 1995, probably represents Downing's best chance of the three to finally experience victory. Championship high-fliers Cardiff, no strangers to Wembley themselves, as this will be their third appearance in five years having lost the 2008 FA Cup final and 2010 Championship play-off, will have other ideas.

But having watched from the bench in 2004 as Middlesbrough beat Bolton and then played in Aston Villa's defeat to Manchester United two years ago, the England international is keen to make amends.

"The second one for Villa against United -- a few things didn't go our way. Nemanja Vidic could have been sent off early on and we were a little bit unlucky on the day," he said.

"It would have been nice to finish with a medal but it wasn't to be. Hopefully this time around I'll get one."

Downing played in Liverpool's first Carling Cup tie this season, at Exeter, but was an unused substitute for the next round at Brighton and did not feature again until the two-legged semi-final against Manchester City.

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