Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno has encouraged his teammates to make the most of their first leg trip to Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-finals.
The Reds face the Saints tonight, following what has been a successful League Cup campaign for both until this point.
While Southampton face the prospect of making a rare appearance at Wembley this season, Liverpool have been in this position numerous times, with the Merseyside club having reached the semi-final stage of the League Cup in each of the past three campaigns.
However, with none of those seasons producing silverware, the Reds are on the hunt for it yet again and ahead of a two-legged tie that could take them one step closer to achieving that goal, Moreno has urged his teammates to use the first leg wisely.
“I think that’s the most important thing in the tie, to go down there and make sure we come back with something positive because we’ve been lucky enough in the draw that we play the second leg in front of our own fans at Anfield,” the left-back told Liverpool’s official website.
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“I’m not saying it hinges on it, but it would be very good to make things easier in the second leg.”
Southampton’s previous encounter with Jürgen Klopp’s men was in the league this season when the pair played out a goalless draw at Saint Mary’s. It was an occasion when the South Coast club threw everything in front of Liverpool’s attacking threat, producing a fine defensive display to leave their opponents frustrated and although the stakes are much different this time around, Moreno still expects a tough challenge from Claude Puel’s men.
“We’re expecting a difficult couple of games. I think they’re a great side and they’ve got some top players there. They certainly made life hard for us in the league game down there, it was a very tight game,” he said.
“But in football, there can be a world of difference between every game, so we’ll go down there knowing what we’ve got to do.
“What we’ve got to try to do is make sure it’s our best version that turns up for the game at St Mary’s, play our best football and hopefully we’ll achieve our target, which is to win every three points that’s available and on this occasion so we can get through in this competition.”
Reds boss Klopp has made no secret of the fact that his side are determined to go all the way and win the EFL Cup, with a key driving force behind that possibly being the Merseyside club’s past disappointments in their attempts to clinch some silverware.
Spanish full-back Moreno is well aware of that disappointment and after recalling Liverpool’s defeats from the previous two seasons, the former Sevilla man expressed his hope to finally overcome those failures and achieve success.
“In one semi-final we got knocked out by Chelsea and then last season we went all the way but had the disappointment of losing in the final,” he continued.
“But winning trophies is what everyone works for, we’re all hoping and aiming – not just me and the players, but the staff, the manager, the fans – to go all the way and win what would be my first trophy as a Liverpool player.
“We’re still involved in everything – the FA Cup, the League Cup and we’re going well in the league. Our plans are going well, our work is going well as a club this season so let’s hope we can keep it going.”
With a majority of Klopp’s first team squad rested for Liverpool’s FA Cup draw at home to Plymouth Argyle last Sunday, fans and experts expect the German boss to name a strong starting line-up on Wednesday night.
And having featured heavily in the League Cup this season, Moreno will be hoping to get another run out as his quest to atone for his own past disappointments continues.