Dirk Kuyt believes Liverpool have a "nearly team" reputation to shed in the Carling Cup final and that they will make it a cup double over Manchester should they repeat their semi-final performance against City when United visit Anfield in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Liverpool reached their first domestic final for six years with their 3-2 aggregate defeat of Manchester City in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, and their first appearance at Wembley since 1996, and will be firm favourites to lift the trophy in Kenny Dalglish's first full season in charge when they face Cardiff City on 26 February.
Kuyt has yet to win a trophy as a Liverpool player having joined from Feyenoord in the summer of 2006, 12 months after Rafael Benítez's team had won the FA Cup and the Champions League. With several near misses during his six years at Anfield, the Holland international wants Liverpool to end his trophy drought against the Championship side next month.
"I've been here a while now and played in a Champions League final, a Champions League semi-final, a Europa League semi-final and finished second in the Premier League," said Kuyt. "It's not enough to be second. Hopefully the Carling Cup can be a first trophy with many more to follow.
"We've been a nearly team during my time here but sometimes it's like that in football. You have to make sure you give everything to reach what you want to reach. We have been very close and sometimes a bit unlucky. But that's behind us – we can't change it.
"What we can change is the future and hopefully the trophies will come. It's great to be in the final but now that we are there we want to win it. It's important for a club like Liverpool to be back in contention for these trophies. That's what Liverpool Football Club is about. When I first arrived here nearly six years ago, I came here to win trophies, and that's the spirit of the players, the spirit of the manager and the spirit of the club."
Liverpool can remove a major obstacle from their path in the FA Cup on Saturday when Manchester United travel to Anfield for a highly charged fourth-round tie. Kuyt believes a repeat of the performance against City will deliver a victory over the reigning Premier League champions. He said: "The lads are more than ready for the weekend. It will be great to not only knock City out of the Carling Cup but to then knock United out of the FA Cup. We set a benchmark against City. We have to make sure we play with the same effort and I'm sure we will be fine."
Liverpool have produced their worst performance of the season – Saturday's 3-1 loss at Bolton – and one of their finest in successive fixtures and, despite Roberto Mancini's complaints over two penalty decisions that went against City, Kuyt insists their place in the Wembley final cannot be disputed.
The 31-year-old said: "It was a great team performance. We deserved to go through. We deserve to be in the final. It was only because of Joe Hart's brilliant performance that we didn't beat City on the night. We were very disappointed for the manager after what happened on Saturday, and for the supporters. But we were even more disappointed for ourselves because we know we can do better.
"So it was great to bounce back. We have to thank the supporters for standing by us and being behind us. From the first whistle, everybody was up for it. This was about playing at Wembley. We are all desperate to challenge for a trophy. It's a while ago since we won one. It's great to be in a final, now we hope to finish it off."