Sunday 17 December 2017

Spearing striving to be sharper Red as Wembley looms

LIVERPOOL midfielder Jay Spearing wants to secure a regular first-team place in order to be able to play at Wembley.

The Reds face Cardiff in the final of the Carling Cup later this month and, having just returned to the squad after injury, the 23-year-old has set himself a short-term goal.

"I've got to take it day by day, keep improving and keep getting better," said the academy graduate, who made his comeback after four matches out with a hamstring injury in Tuesday's 3-0 win at Wolves.

"There is a lot of competition in the club. We're known worldwide and anyone would love to come and play for us, so I've got to keep on my toes to get that place.

"I've got to nail it down, get the games going and try to get that Carling Cup final place."

Spearing has had something of a stop-start season and, with the likes of Lucas Leiva missing the rest of the campaign after knee surgery and captain Steven Gerrard also spending a long time sidelined with injury, he would have wanted to play more.

Just when it seemed he would get his chance, starting back-to-back matches for the first time since May, he was sent off in December's defeat at Fulham.

Having served a three-match suspension, he returned after Christmas to start four successive matches, but a hamstring injury forced him out again.

The sending-off at Craven Cottage had manager Kenny Dalglish reaching for the DVD to highlight the refereeing inconsistencies in that game, but for Spearing it was all part of the learning experience.

"The support I had from the club and people around helped me after that red card," he said.

"Some people thought it was (a sending-off), some thought it wasn't but it was one of those things in my career I had to learn from.


"I've done that and I've come back fighting stronger and harder.

"I've got to get out there and show exactly what I'm capable of doing and play my game.

"There's no point in being nervous because then I'll start playing silly passes."

Fellow midfielder Lucas is back at the club's Melwood training ground having returned from undergoing surgery in his native Brazil.

The 25-year-old is now well into his rehabilitation and, although he will not play again this season, he is coming to terms with being sidelined for a long spell.

"I was really frustrated because it was my first injury since I arrived at Liverpool, and a serious one, so I was really down, especially after the operation," the Brazilian said.

"But you can't complain about it, you just have to deal with it, try to do the right rehab and come back stronger than before.

"Hopefully I will be back soon, and wearing the red shirt again will be a good thing to achieve."

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