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STER-ING IT UP Raheem Sterling buzzing to return ‘home’ to Wembley as Chelsea star targets cup record at expense of old club Liverpool

Sterling believes that Chelsea have ‘shown themselves’ against the Prem’s better teams this season
THE script is virtually written for Raheem Sterling.

Chelsea’s winger holds the record for an English player with FIVE Carabao Cup final wins.

Sterling faces his former club Liverpool in Sunday’s Wembley showdown, where Reds fans will no doubt boo his every touch.

The game is at his “home”, as the 29-year-old grew up yards from the stadium.

And Sterling wants to kickstart Chelsea’s taste for success as the figurehead of the new era under billionaire owner Todd Boehly.

Sterling joined the Londoners from Manchester City in July 2022 for £47.5million — American Boehly’s first big-money signing.

During seven glittering years at the Etihad he won all of his five League Cups.

Sterling won four League Cups in a row with Man City

And he will match the record EFL Cup tally of former Etihad team-mates Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho with six wins if he can help upset favourites Liverpool.

Sterling said: “It would be a massive achievement to do that.

“When you’ve had that taste for it, you always want more and this game will be the exact same thing.

“We’ve got a great test this week against Liverpool.

“It’s a good challenge against one of the most dominant teams in the last few years.

“For sure it would mean a lot to win that trophy again.

“I also think that first trophy would definitely build the belief for the group. If you win that one trophy it gives you that sniff, that feeling and you want more.”

Sterling has always relished a challenge and knows all about the quality of nine-time League Cup winners Liverpool.

Having joined the Reds as a teenager in 2010, he spent five years at Anfield, where he was the club’s Young Player of the Season in 2014 and 2015.

But Sterling made a controversial £49m switch to City in 2015 and won ten major trophies with Pep Guardiola’s outfit as they enjoyed a gripping rivalry with Liverpool for prizes.

The first of those was the Capital One Cup in February 2016 when City beat Jurgen Klopp’s side 3-1 on penalties after extra-time ended with the score still tied at 1-1.

Sterling and City then won four on the bounce from 2018-21 to equal the Reds’ record for most consecutive victories set between 1981-84.

When the 2019 final against Chelsea finished goalless, the England international struck the winning penalty too in a 4-3 shootout success at a ground close to his heart.

Sterling dreamt of playing at Wembley as a kid — his left arm is inked with an inspirational tattoo of a young boy wearing a No 10 shirt and looking up at the iconic venue.

Capped 82 times by his country — his last cap in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France — he also unveiled his foundation at nearby former school Ark Elvin Academy.

‘THAT’S MY HOME’

Sterling admitted playing a Wembley was “special” and told Arab News: “That’s my home. I’m really looking forward to it.

“When I go to Wembley I get a different feeling, I can’t wait to get on the field.”

Chelsea are looking to pick up their first trophy under Boehly’s consortium, which has seen them spend more than £1BILLION on players so far.

The Blues have won 21 trophies since 2005, including five Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and three League Cups.

Sterling believes they are “getting stronger” and a Carabao Cup triumph in just over 48 hours could provide the springboard to better times.

After finishing a disappointing 12th in the Prem last season, Chelsea are tenth at present under former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Results have been inconsistent, with an impressive 4-1 win at Spurs and draws with title-chasing Liverpool, Arsenal and City offset by losses to Brentford, Everton and Wolves.

Chelsea also suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at Anfield in their last meeting with Jurgen Klopp’s men at the end of last month before the 4-2 loss to Gary O’Neil’s Wanderers.

But they responded with successive 3-1 victories — an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in the league.

On his return to the starting line-up at his old Etihad stomping ground on Saturday, Sterling scored as the Treble winners needed a late Rodri equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw.

It was Sterling’s eighth goal of the season — one shy of last term’s tally.

‘WE HAVE TO KEEP BUILDING’

He added: “I wanted to show myself against City and we were unlucky we couldn’t get the win against them.

“We’re a young group and that performance will build confidence going forward.

“But I’ve always said these are the challenges that we need to step up to.

“Against some of the top-four teams this season we have shown ourselves.

“Liverpool away was obviously a disappointing one but against Tottenham, Arsenal and City we have shown ourselves — and we have to keep building.”

Chelsea are determined to prove that what they showed at Anfield on January 31 was not a true reflection of who they are.

Sterling said: “The Liverpool defeat definitely hurt. We will try to do a lot better this time.

“We’re getting stronger and the most important thing is to try to compete for trophies.

“And this week we have got a great opportunity to do that and I’m looking forward to it.”